Would I Ever Follow the Christian God Again?

In the comments section of Matthew's introductory post, Matthew wrote:
I would ask that you not think that if all of freethinking skepticism was in error and that the Bible was shown to be inerrant and inspired that I would become a Christian. I find the Christian faith to be almost deathly repugnant these days and I would rather take my own life than let the Christian deity have it.

In response, albert wrote:
"In other words he would reject, rebel against,ignore etc 'reality'."

Let's say that you are a Christian and this strange guy comes into your town and tells you that God wants you to go and kill your atheistic neighbor, his wife, 9-year-old son, 3-year-old daughter, bunny rabbit, cat, and 3 dogs.


Let's say that you were skeptical, but then proved absolutely that it was, in fact, God ordering you to do this (For you cessationists, let's just assume this is possible just as it was "back in the day"). I don't know how you proved it, but you did beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Would you obey that command of God that you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt to be true?

Personally, I would tell God to go fuck himself and damn me to hell. I would not do something so blatantly evil just because a god told me to (just like I wouldn't go kill a bunch of Iraqis just because a president told me to).

I think this is what Matthew is saying (and if he isn't, then I am saying it). I (we?) find Christianity so morally reprehensible (e.g. it degrades women, robs homosexuals of the joy of their lover, celebrates murder for offenses, etc.), that I would not follow it even if I knew it was the case.

But don't read this to mean that I refuse to be convinced of the "truth" of Christianity. If it can be proven that Christianity is true, I'll shout it from the roof tops.

My sermon title, however, would be, "There is a Real Son of a Bitch in Charge of This Universe; Run for Your Lives!"

And, yes, this sounds Romans 1-ish, but why? Is it because Paul really knew the heart of unbelievers or is it because my reaction is how most people would react (and did react) to such an evil idea of God, and Paul only "predicted" how people should act when confronted by this Christian god? I think Paul probably heard moral people everywhere reject this vile picture of a god, and then wrote his little letter so that it sounded like their rejection was simply the mark of an unregenerate person, not the only morally good decision a person could make when faced with that kind of god. Chicken or egg? "Prediction" or right reaction?

So, to answer my question above, "No, I would not worship the Christian God I believe is presented in the Bible even if I knew he truly existed." I could believe he existed, but I would not follow him. Or, if I were shown that my interpretation of the Christian God is wrong and that he is actually a good being AND that he actually existed AND that there is a good reason that the world is in the messed up state that it is in, then I would have no problem worshipping that God. I would re-join the ministry!

As it stands, however, I find the Christian God morally reprehensible and the state of the world such that it does not appear to be in the hands of any powerful, wise god. I would gladly accept any evidence to the contrary.

25 comments:

John W. Loftus said...

If God appeared to any one of us, believer or unbeliever, and told us to kill our only son (or mother or spouse)--to sacrifice him (or her) on an altar just like God purportedly did with Abraham--then all of us, to a person would refuse to obey him.

If the God of the Bible does in fact exist, then he's a barbaric potentate unworthy of my worship. If I must obey him for fear of being tortured to death or being thrown into hell, then I will. But I could never love such a God.

If I am in rebellion against such a God, and he actually exists, then he's to blame. He's unworthy of my worship or attention since he does little to alleviate the sufferings of innocent people in our world.

I too would rather die than worship such a God. However, I just don't think he does. I need convinced against the overwhelming amount of evidence that he in fact does exist. But given the nature of the God described in the Bible, it's very implausible that he does.

exbeliever said...

John,

You wrote: "If God appeared to any one of us, believer or unbeliever, and told us to kill our only son (or mother or spouse)--to sacrifice him (or her) on an altar just like God purportedly did with Abraham--then all of us, to a person would refuse to obey him."

I wouldn't be so sure. Greg Bahnsen was a Theonomist and a Reconstructionist. I don't know if any of our presup guys have gone that far, but if they have, I don't think a little thing like murdering a family member would stop them from following god's law.

Vytautas said...

I do not think Paul wrote the letter to the Romans because he wanted to answer the objections of the atheists in the city of Rome. But rather Paul wrote to the church, that was in Rome and his theme was the Gospel.

John W. Loftus said...

exbeliever: I don't think a little thing like murdering a family member would stop them from following god's law.

If so, isn't that the hoot!

I use this illustration in my ethics classes when discussing the Divine Command Theory to see what my students would do, and a few of them claim they really would kill if they were absolutely convinced it was God telling them to kill. But if I was absolutely convinced it was God before he told me to kill, then I would change my mind and be convinced it was not God speaking to me at all after he told me to kill, because killing is wrong.

I was just hoping most of the readers of this Blog could identify with Matthew, you and me.

If not, I guess we cannot help them see what we're saying.

Great post by the way...again.

evanmay said...

"because killing is wrong"

Says who?

Exbeliever: Our Knight in Shining Armor

streetapologist said...

EB-

Perhaps you should re-title this post. A new name could be "Did I ever follow the Christian God in the first place"?

John- Perhaps you should re-read Genesis. God provided a sacrifice and it wasn't Isaac. This is called foreshadowing and given your presupposition i.e. that the bible is not the word of God, then it is just a piece of literature. If this is true then you should appreciate the use of foreshadowing. Of course, I believe that the bible is the word of God therefore this is even more beautiful as it shows God's self-sacrificing love on behalf of his creatures. (In other words you have no right to object to the bible based on your worldview)

Morne said...

John, I agree with you 100%. If there is ever proof that the god of the bible is alive and well today, I will with the biggest sense of liberation and glee tell him to go f@ck himself! I will never again be part of his evil and sadistic regime.

Being god and being able to do anything he should be able to literally f@ck himself... ;-) what a thought!

streetapologist said...

So much for your "call for civility"

"We think that educated people can disagree agreeably, and anyone who continually reveals his or her ignorance by purposely misrepresenting us or belittling us for no other reason than that he or she disagrees with us, will have their posts summarily deleted." Courtesy of Debunking Christianity.

So you won't tolerate Christians belittling you, but you will tolerate (nay, you will even) belittle the Christian God and Christians by allowing atheists to belittle and demean the God that we serve? I realize that this is an atheist blog, however your policy says that "educated" people should be able to disagree agreeably, is this post and the subsequent comments your idea agreeable disagreement?

Is this indicative of the intellectual prowess that the rationally superior atheist have to offer?

John W. Loftus said...

See my response here.

Albert said...

Matthew said " I would rather take my own life than let the Christian deity have it."

Now IF God as depicted in the Bible really existed then it would matter little what Matthew did because even if he "killed" himself his "soul" would continue to exist and God could banish him to Hell or whatever. Lest it seem that I am nitpicking I just wanted to mention this because it shows a lack of thorough thinking on Matthew's part.

Anonymous said...

Morne said "John, I agree with you 100%. If there is ever proof that the god of the bible is alive and well today, I will with the biggest sense of liberation and glee tell him to go f@ck himself! I will never again be part of his evil and sadistic regime."

How's this for civil?

I believe that Morne is not as brave as He might want us to believe He is. This goes for you John and EB also. I would bet that if you met up with Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's dull butcher knife you would piss your pants and bow down to Ahla. So don't give me this "I would gladly suffer in Hell for all eternity than accept the final truth.

exbeliever said...

I highly recommend evanmay's response to this post.

Please ignore the fact that his entire argument is based on the patently false assumption that anyone who believed that the Christian God existed would also have to hold evanmay's belief that morality is then grounded in that god and not external to him.

I want you to concentrate on the clear implication that if God told evanmay to "kill his atheistic neighbor, his wife, 9-year-old son, 3-year-old daughter, bunny rabbit, cat, and 3 dogs," [or, in more biblical terminology, "Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey."] evanmay would not only do it, but consider it a "good" act.

That's right, evanmay would kill an infant, child, woman, man, bunny rabbit, cat, and dogs if he was convinced his god was telling him to do that.

I am glad this kind of contrast can be shown in this marketplace of ideas.

exbeliever said...

My only regret in this post is that I didn't generalize the idea of a god.

I consider myself an equal opportunity blasphemer. I would say the same of Allah, Vishnu, Zeus, etc.

The way that I wrote this makes it too easy for Christians to feel justified in their belief that theirs is the only god that gets people upset. They read Paul's ad hoc argument that the wicked reject god because they love their sin and use my justified moral disdain of their god as some kind of vindication of their belief. They ignore the fact that I would say the same things about all the other gods and the fact that doing so doesn't justify beliefs in those gods.

Oh well. Christianity is what I know best. Only Christians have posted here. I guess it is appropriate to speak exclusively of their god. If I had it to do over again, though, I think I would have generalized it more.

evanmay said...

I want you to concentrate on the clear implication that if God told evanmay to "kill his atheistic neighbor, his wife, 9-year-old son, 3-year-old daughter, bunny rabbit, cat, and 3 dogs," [or, in more biblical terminology, "Now go and strike Amalek and utterly destroy all that he has, and do not spare him; but put to death both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey."] evanmay would not only do it, but consider it a "good" act.

That's right, evanmay would kill an infant, child, woman, man, bunny rabbit, cat, and dogs if he was convinced his god was telling him to do that.


What would be "wrong" with such an act? You have not told me... apart from the opinion of the Knight in Shining Armor.

In any case, that is such a big if. I know that God wouldn't tell me to do so, for he has not given me that responsibility. He has placed his authority to punish the wrongdoer in the hands of civil government, not in the hands of Evan May. Therefore, your comments, again, fail to address all of the assumptions of the Biblical worldview.

exbeliever said...

I said that evanmay would "kill an infant, child, woman, man, bunny rabbit, cat, and dogs if he was convinced his god was telling him to do that."

He responds: "What would be 'wrong' with such an act?"

He wants me to explain what is wrong with killing an infant.

EM, please keep writing. I want all of this to be out in the marketplace of ideas.

Anonymous said...

Killing a child? Hackers (doctors) do it every day and have many support them 100%.(many of them Atheist)

So EB is this in your world view correct?

evanmay said...

He wants me to explain what is wrong with killing an infant.

EM, please keep writing. I want all of this to be out in the marketplace of ideas.


Exbeliever, that's very cute, but you know what I mean.

According to your own worldview, why is killing a child wrong?

exbeliever said...

EM,

You wrote: "According to your own worldview, why is killing a child wrong?"

I'm not sure how to take your question.

If you are asking about the "foundation" of my moral beliefs, then I discussed that here.

If you are asking why it is wrong according to my particular moral framework within the foundations I describe, I would refer to ideas like innocence, empathy, culture, civilization, idealism, etc.

The part that I want everyone else to understand is that IN YOUR WORLDVIEW, killing an infant can be a "good" act.

evanmay said...

The part that I want everyone else to understand is that IN YOUR WORLDVIEW, killing an infant can be a "good" act.

This isn't something you have shown. Where, in my own worldview, would it possibly be "good" for me to kill an infant?

Remember, exbeliever, you can't pick and choose from my worldview. You must take into account everything that it teaches.

exbeliever said...

EM,

You wrote, "Where, in my own worldview, would it possibly be "good" for me to kill an infant?"

If God told you to.

Anonymous said...

You have to know a "good act" and "good" are not the same thing.

What if I was 20 years old when Adolf Hitler was one, and God (undeniably) told me to kill him.
Would this be a 'good act"? Maybe not! But it would be 'good".

evanmay said...

If God told you to.

And, once again, you pick and choose from my worldview.

exbeliever said...

EM,

Whatever helps you sleep through the night.

evanmay said...

Ok. So you make an argument, without the benefit of constructing the argument. Then you tell me to go beddy bye.

This sure is fun.

Matthew said...

I thank Exbeliever for starting this thread. I think that 'Albert' made some pretty questionable assumptions about my state of mind. In fact, he even responded to this post by accusing me of not having thought through this carefully as though I believed that if I took my own life, my soul would somehow cease to exist.

Unfortunately, it's this 'Albert' fellow who hasn't done his homework. What I had in mind, which 'Albert' has a hard time wrapping his mind around, is that if the Christian faith was valid, I would take my own life because I wouldn't see the point in delaying the inevitability of "Hell".

Frankly, I find it amusing that Christians can accuse apostates or even heathens of rebellion and misotheism (one of Johnny Sarfati's favorite words). This is just absurd. If I knew deep down inside that the Christian god is real, what would the point of rebellion be? Seriously! Why would I live my life in "rebellion"? That's the stupidest thing I have ever heard!

As much as it might hurt my friends, family, and other loved ones, I would most likely get it all over with.

Suppose that Yahweh was nothing like I imagined him to be. Suppose he really was a very loving Being. Heck- let's go further and say that he defined love and that his love was beyond human comprehension and defied attempts by mortal man to quantify it. If such a deity did love me, there's no stopping him from telling me to my face and convincing me personally.

This is what just amazes me. He seems way too cowardly to tell me to my face that he is real and what's more, he has to send people in my path, many of whom are just the most arrogant, argumentive, self-righeous, judgemental sons-of-bitches imaginable, to "witness" to me. And some of these creepy people have the nerve to accuse me of cowardice?! What gives?

Matthew