Christians claim I cannot say God punishes us in barbaric ways even though I think he did so in many examples found in the Bible. If any judge turned someone into a pillar of salt for looking back (Lot’s Wife), or if he struck Uzzah down for steadying the Ark, or if he killed Ananias and Sapphira for lying, I would consider these punishments barbaric by all decent standards in today’s world. Christians claim I do not have a standard of morality to judge how God purportedly punishes us. They claim I must have an objective standard to know what good and evil is. They claim God is the objective standard, so by definition he does what is good, and I have no reason to judge the Judge of all creation.
But this all begs the question. I am seeking to know whether or not God exists from the way he supposedly judges people in the Bible. It’s not that I see myself actually judging the Judge as if he exists. Even if he does exist I don’t see why I can’t assess how he officiates in his court room, just like I do with any other judge in my society. Regardless, I’m looking at how the Bible claims God judges us and asking whether or not he exists. And my conclusion is that if this God exists then he’s not a good God. Since Christians claim God is good, this means their conception of God does not exist. And this is one of many reasons I reject Christianity.
Let's say you didn't believe in God, like me. Would that change anything with regard to how you thought a judge sentenced someone for a crime? Let's say before you became an atheist you thought that if a molestor was merely sentenced to probation, then he received a slap on the wrist for his crime. Would that view of yours change if you became an atheist? NO! I can indeed say when the punishment is too great or small based upon how serious I think the crime is. [At one time the Bible codified the standards of its own day when it proscribed capital punishment for a son who cursed his parents, but Christians no longer believe in that kind of law because history has moved on, and them with it.] Christians say I have no objective standard to claim this, but I say I am well within the standards of decency in modern America, which are more humane and civil than in the barbaric past. Christians say America has no ultimate standards for their morality, or those that do exist are based upon the Bible, but I say there have been a number of civilizations that have had little or no influence from the Bible that would agree with my standards.
Christians say humans beings as a whole have some kind of moral code written within them from God, and I disagree for one obvious reason: there is such a wide diversity of moral standards among the people in our world, along with the fact that there is a wide moral diversity among those who claim to be Christians too. Where is this moral code that is supposedly written into all human beings? Take a poll on the great moral issues of our day. If God writes a moral code within us then he’s writing in invisible ink, as far as I’m concerned. We cannot read it, and if that’s so, what’s left of the claim that God has done so?
Christians claim that God writes this moral code within us, but people just suppress it. However, no one is consciously aware of any suppression. Almost every person thinks his or her moral notions are true. People hold their moral convictions sincerely. For one side to say that the other side is not being sincere, doesn't help know who is correct at all. In fact, I have seen Christians hotly dispute other Christians on so many moral and political issues that it's difficult to see how such a claim makes any sense at all, since not even Christians can claim to know what that code is. This becomes a problem for the existence of the Holy Spirit who is supposed to guide the Christian as well. Where was he when Christians went to war with each other over interpretations of the Bible? Apparently he's not properly doing his job, and never has. These facts strongly suggest to me there is no moral code given us by God, and there is no Holy Spirit either, contrary to the claims of the superstitious people who wrote the Bible, and those who believe those claims. The hard evidence is against it.
The progression of Christian morality that can be read in any history of Christian ethics book will show this. How the Christian judges morality is not necessarily learned from the Bible, but it is brought to the Bible; that is, Christians develop their morality in tandem with their culture and find justification for that morality in the Bible. [Key issues here are slavery, democracy, women's leadership roles, abortion, capital punishment, and what to do about poverty].
In fact, if a Christian became an atheist his or her behavior wouldn't change much either, which is another reason why it's not the Bible that forms our ethics. Michael Shermer asks the Christian one simple question. “What would you do if there were no God? Would you commit robbery, rape, and murder, or would you continue being a good and moral person? Either way the question is a debate stopper. If the answer is that you would soon turn to robbery, rape, or murder, then this is a moral indictment of your character, indicating you are not to be trusted because if, for any reason, you were to turn away from your belief in God, your true immoral nature would emerge…If the answer is that you would continue being good and moral, then apparently you can be good without God. QED.” [Michael Shermer, The Science of Good and Evil, pp. 154-155].
Furthermore, it seems obvious to me that punishing the whole human race for the small sin of curiousity and selfishness that was created within them by God in Adam and Eve, was absolutely horrible of the Biblical God. God would have known that he had not given them enough evidence to believe that eating the fruit would cause so much horrendus suffering. If they had enough evidence to actually believe this would happen, they wouldn't have done it. Besides, God purportedly knew full well in advance they would indeed sin. The sentencing of this God for this crime is warped and barbaric. I think a case can be made for entrapment here.
The only reason Christians don't agree is because they believe in God, and the reason they believe in God has more to do with a felt need for some higher power taken together with when and where they were born, called "the accidents of birth." Their religion was the one experienced within their culture. For if they were born in Turkey they would be a Muslims, and if they were born in Mongolia they'd be Buddhists right now.
If Christians didn't believe in God, they would see what their God concept purportedly does for what it truly is, barbaric. Their God concept clouds their eyes from seeing what seems obvious to others.
And as far as the naturalistic standard of morality goes, I believe at root we all have the same standard, based in nature, it's just Christians refuse to acknowledge it. Christians think they find their morality in the Bible but they don't, as I've indicated. If their morality is to be found inside the pages of the Bible, then they need to explain why Christians have disagreed about that morality down through the centuries, and even today. People have their morality and then they try to find it in the Bible, for the most part, although, since the Bible is part of our culture then it helps to shape our standards in a dialectic conversation.