The Barbaric God of The Bible

One thing is sure to me. The Triune God in the Bible simply cannot be describing the God who exists. That God is a barbaric God. He is a hateful, racist and sexist God.

Consider these stories: In the Flood story we’re told God wanted to destroy all mankind. In Moses’ day God wanted to destroy all of the Israelites. In Joshua’s day God wanted the Israelites to kill all of the inhabitants of the Promised Land. Saul was told by God to destroy all of the Amalekites. According to Jonah, God was going to destroy the people of Nineveh. God also destroyed and scattered the northern tribes of Israel because he was displeased with them. God allowed the accuser to destroy Job’s health and family life just to win a “bet.” In the New Testament, God will destroy all unbelievers in the lake of fire. He’s a pretty barbaric God, if you ask me. This God is simply the reflection of ancient barbaric peoples.

Christians think the Militant Muslims are wrong for wanting to kill free loving people in the world, and they are. But the only difference between these Muslims and the Christian Biblical God is that they simply disagree on whom should be killed. They both agree people should be killed; they just disagree on whom should die.

God decreed that a man who picked up sticks on the Sabbath day was to be stoned to death (Numbers 15:32-36). God commanded that anyone who curses his father or mother was to be put to death (Exodus 21:17). Witches, and those of differing religious views were to be killed (Ex. 22:18,20). These are pretty stiff punishments, eh? This God declares that a slave is the property of another man (Exodus 21:21). God commanded men to divorce their foreign wives for no other reason but that they were not God’s people (Ezra 9), and women were helpless if they weren’t married in those days.

God asked Abraham to kill and sacrifice his son Isaac. As I've said, if we heard a voice today telling us to do that, we would not think this voice was God’s, although Abraham wasn’t horrified at the suggestion. Enough!

Ludwig Feuerbach is surely right; God did not make us in his image, human beings made God in their image. The ancient people of the Bible constructed their views of God based upon their own barbaric nature.

So when Matthew, exbeliever and I say we would never worship the God of the Bible if it were proved that he truly existed, this is the kind of God we are talking about here. He would be unworthy of our worship.

The truth is that nature’s God does many things that if we did them we’d be indicted for crimes against humanity. This is what John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) argued: “In sober truth, nearly all the things which men are hanged or imprisoned for doing to one another are nature’s everyday performances. Killing, the most criminal act recognized by human laws, nature does once to every being that lives, and in a large proportion of cases after protracted tortures such as only the greatest monsters whom we read of ever purposely inflicted on their living fellow creatures. Nature impales men, breaks them as if on the wheel, casts them to be devoured by wild beasts, burns them to death, crushes them with stones, starves them with hunger, freezes them with the cold, poisons them by the quick or slow venom of her exhalations, and has hundreds of other hideous deaths in reserve such as the ingenious cruelty of a Nabis or a Domitian never surpassed. She mows down those on whose existence hangs the well-being of a whole people, with as little compunction as those whose death is a relief to themselves."

"Next to taking life is taking the means by which we live; and nature does this too, on the largest scale and with the most callous indifference. A single hurricane destroys the hopes of a season; a flight of locusts desolates a district; a trifling chemical change in an edible root starves a million people. The waves of the sea, like banditti, seize and appropriate the wealth of the rich and the little all of the poor. Everything, in short, which the worst men commit either against life or property is perpetrated on a larger scale by natural agents." [Nature and the Utility of Religion, 1871].

To those who ask how we could question God, listen again to John Stuart Mill: “In everyday life I know what to call right or wrong, because I can plainly see its rightness or wrongness. Now if a god requires that what I ordinarily call wrong in human behavior I must call right because he does it; or that what I ordinarily call wrong I must call right because he so calls it, even though I do not see the point of it; and if by refusing to do so, he can sentence me to hell, to hell I will gladly go.” [Reproduced in an appendix in Richard Taylor, ed., Theism (Liberal Arts Press, 1957), pp. 89-96].