| Morality...Bible God Style
Used by permission, from the Agnostic Review of Christianity website
When encountering zealous Christians, one of the first things they'll chirp about is how their God sets holy moral standards for mankind. Without the Bible God's morality, humans are hopelessly wicked and sinful wretches. While there are some laws which the Bible God hands out to his earthly subjects that can be considered moral and virtuous, there are also some very ugly laws and instructions found in the Bible which are the "word of God". This essay will take a look at some actual examples of Christians advertising their God as the only source of "morality" in the universe. Let's get started:
Without a belief in and a LOVE FOR GOD, you cannot establish a totally moral society.
The reason for this is that without God, men simply have no defense against the errors, temptations, and pitfalls of this world, and most of them quickly fall into sin.
God is the only firm basis for morality, and humankind as a race must see that before there is to be any ultimate improvement in human behavior.
God will eventually tire of men shunning him, and will draw the Earth to a close, taking only the good people with Him to heaven.]
When a person reads declarations like this, they must always keep in mind that to a zealous Christian, all other belief systems are false by definition.
Nothing moral exists outside of the theological cocoon Christians reside in.
So of course, when these zealots speak of a "belief in and love for God", it must be the Bible God and no other. In other words, unless you believe in and love the Bible God, you can never be "totally" moral.
There are many examples of God's "morals" which are anything but moral according to modern "civilized" societies.
Perhaps the most obvious example of God's questionable morals can be found regarding the issue of slavery.
The Bible God endorsed slavery. That's a fact according to the Bible. Christians however, don't like this to be pointed out about their God so they'll attempt to dilute this ugly fact by claiming that God simply "tolerated" slavery but never endorsed it. A few quotes from the Bible dissolve this cozy notion and rather lame attempt to wash God's hands of this ugly doctrine.
The Bible God gave instructions on how his chosen people should wage war against their various neighbors:
When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it.
And it shall be, if it make thee answer of peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be, that all the people that is found therein shall be tributaries (forced laborers) unto thee, and they shall serve thee.
Notice that if the people of the attacked city accept the "offer of peace" they will become slaves of God's chosen people. Forced labor is slavery.
And if it will make no peace with thee, but will make war against thee, then thou shalt besiege it:
And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:
But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shalt thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.
Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations.
But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth:
Notice that God instructs his people to completely annihilate nearby nations, killing anything that "breathes", while nations further outside an immediate zone of holiness will have their men killed, their women, children, livestock and everything else taken as plunder by God's chosen people.
Does any of this actually sound "moral" ? This is the same Bible God which Christians say that society must believe in and love in order to have a totally moral society. Are slavery and mass genocide "moral" just because this deity commanded it?
Christian apologists will often go to great lengths to downplay and justify the mass killing and enslavement of these various nations. Apologists will usually claim that since these people were heathen and declared wicked by God, they deserved proper punishment for their sins. They may even assert that slavery was really a benefit to these heathens because it gave them the opportunity to be exposed to the one true God. In other words, God's loving grace provided for these people to become slaves instead of being killed along with the other "war criminals".
Ironically, this was the same justification used by Southern Christian clergy during the American civil war to argue for the institution of slavery. According to these devout God-fearing believers, who were just as filled with the Holy Spirit as any Christian today, the barbaric godless African slaves through God's grace, as overseen by his chosen people (the Southern Christians), had their heathen ways exchanged for the blessings and security of Christianity.
One can rest assured that whatever rationalization is needed to sanitize the Bible God's endorsement of slavery and the outright command of slavery for certain populations, it will be produced by the faithful.
It should also be noted that King Solomon used slave labor to build the Temple to the Lord God.
2 Chron 8:7-8,16
All the people that were left of the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, who were not of Israel,
their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel had not destroyed, upon them did Solomon impose tribute-service (slave labor)until this day.
And all the work of Solomon was prepared, to the day of the foundation of the house (Temple) of Jehovah and to its completion. So the house of Jehovah was finished.
Apparently this "moral" and "righteous" God had no ethical problems with his holy temple being constructed by slaves. This is the type of superior "morality" that the Bible God demonstrates. Try finding a Christian pastor who'll quote these verses when they advertise their God as occupying the moral high ground of the universe.
The Bible God also incorporated his brand of morality into the laws he gave his chosen people.
In the following, God outlines his moral law regarding the buying of slaves:
And as for thy bondman(slaves) and thy handmaid(slaves) whom thou shalt have -- of the nations that are round about you, of them shall ye buy bondmen (slaves) and handmaids (slaves).
Moreover of the children of them that dwell as sojourners with you, of them may ye buy, and of their family that is with you, which they beget in your land, and they shall be your possession.
And ye shall leave them(the slaves) as an inheritance to your children after you, to inherit them(the slaves) as a possession: these may ye make your bondmen for ever; but as for your brethren, the children of Israel, ye shall not rule over one another with rigour.
Clearly, God had no problem with slavery as a moral institution.
One more example of God's morality on display follows:
And if a man strike his bondman (slave) or his handmaid with a staff, and he (the slave)die under his hand, he shall certainly be avenged.
Only, if he (the slave) continue (survive the beating and live) a day or two days, he shall not be avenged; for he (the slave) is his (the owner's) money (property).
There are many more examples of God's "moral" law which have very little to do with morality but the point has been made. Remember what the Christian claimed: "God is the only firm basis for morality, and humankind as a race must see that before there is to be any ultimate improvement in human behavior."
So according to this Christian zealot, slavery is just fine as long as his personal God endorses it.
These types of pious Christian claims should always be given a swift kick right out the door of reason into the garbage can where they belong.
The Bible God represents no absolute universal standard for morality in a civilized society.
It should be noted that some Christians will attempt to say that God's endorsement of slavery, as well as many of his other laws such as the observance of the Sabbath, his strict dietary laws, and many other statutes only applied to the people of the Old Testament.
The national and theocratic context in which moral principles were expressed in the Old Testament no longer apply to Christians today.]
In other words, this Christian is saying that God changes his mind about moral issues and that Christians don't have to recognize all that "Old Testament stuff" anymore.
The Christian, by using this argument, has shot to pieces his God's word as an absolute basis for human morality. If the Bible God changes his definition of moral behavior, excusing some groups from obeying his laws, then "sin" is relative and not absolute. If moral behavior which is required in one time period can be ignored in a later time period, that's situational ethics.
If this Christian claim is true, then how many other of God's laws have gone out of style since the Bible was written?
This excuse is also dishonest because it contradicts the very Bible which fundamentalist Christians claim is God's infallible and inerrant word.
The Bible God's moral laws and instructions don't go out of style. They are all perfect and eternal. Perfect means without flaw and eternal means for all time.
The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
Concerning thy testimonies, I have known of old that thou hast founded them for ever.
Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever (are eternal).
Furthermore, the characteristics of the Bible God do not change and God does not change his mind like men do.
For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
1 Sam 15:29
And also the Strength of Israel (God) will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.
God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
The Christian excuse that God's moral laws only applied to the people of that time is a purely dishonest rationalization, concocted in a desperate attempt to keep the Bible God from appearing like the barbaric, tribal God that he really is.
On a concluding note, Christians will also try to employ the excuse that Jesus is now in charge of the universe and Jesus isn't like his Father. Jesus is love, peace, lollipops and teddy bears.
However, according to mainstream Christianity, Jesus is eternal God. That means Jesus is the same barbaric, tribal God who endorsed slavery and mass extermination of various populations who were not God's chosen people.
And once again, the Bible skewers this apologetic ploy and roasts it over a slow fire.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
If Jesus is eternal God, then he doesn't evolve and outgrow his barbaric tendencies any more than his Father does. Jesus remains the same throughout time.
Ahoy Christians! Read the fine print of your Bible before you embark on a voyage to candy-coat your theology and try to convince the world to swallow it as the infallible word of a creator who set up the universe.
Behind all the pious fluff of zealous Christian claims about their God, you'll find a book called the Holy Bible. That book, which is the compilation of various writings selected by a group of politicians and clerics at a council, is not the word of an infallible deity. To treat it as such requires that the mysteries of the universe be contracted to squeeze with the confines of this collection of writings made by men who were no more or no less inspired than any other religious writers who have ever put pen to paper and called it the word of God.
When the claims made about a product fail to match up with the actual performance of that product, it's called false advertising. While there are some core truths to be found in almost all religious texts, including the Bible, it's time for Christians drop the pious "word of God" rhetoric and face reality.