God is love. Christians love to say that. God is love. Like so many things in Christianity the phrase is uttered along with a disturbing lack of understanding on the part of the utterer (how awesome is that word?).
I’ve been thinking about this subject for the longest time, usually in the context of the massive amount of contradictions in the Bible. The Bible is brim full of contradictions, so disturbingly many you have to wonder how it’s possible for such a large bunch of people to display the cognitive dissonance required to be Christian in the first place.
I recently read a post by Greta Christina discussing a post by William Lane Craig where he essentially defends the horrors of the Old Testament. Greta takes a dim view on the things said by Craig, and rightly so. If I had been afforded the opportunity I would have re-posted her entire post here. It’s brilliant and I’m not sure I can do it justice by discussing it here but I’ll make an attempt anyway. Read Greta’s full post here: http://bit.ly/emnPcU (shortened URL because the actual URL is long…)
The basic premise of what Craig wrote is that the atrocities committed in the Bible (genocide, infanticide, slavery, rape) was OK because God commanded it and whatever God commands is good and anyway, the Canaanites were fine to be murdered because they had gone against this God. For like, a long time!
To quote Greta’s paraphrasing:
When guilty people got killed, they deserved it because they were guilty and bad… and when innocent people got killed, even when innocent babies were killed, they went to Heaven, and it was all hunky dory in the end.
This is some of what Craig had to say:
So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgement. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged?
Greta goes on to say that Craig isn’t some extremist or “drooling wingnut” but is rather a well-educated, widely published author. Mostly normal then. I agree with that, Craig seems pretty normal (comparatively) and I think he is representative of average Christianity.
The problem with what Craig is saying is that as long as God commands you to kill somebody, it’s entirely OK. Babies, children, women, men, anything, as long as God tells you it’s OK, then it’s OK. Many people, most Christians I would imagine, share his views on this.
In her post, Greta makes two very good points. The first is that the rest of us, the ones not dragged down by the millstone that is the horrors of the Bible can look back at history and rightly say that those things were terrible, we’re not proud of our history but it’s behind us, we accept it was disgusting behaviour and that we’ll go out of our way to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
The second point she makes is that the religionuts can’t do that, don’t have that option since their holy book defends and praises these actions. They can’t look back and say it was terrible because in doing so, they have to agree that their deity is an evil bastard. Instead:
They have to either a) cherry-pick the bits they like and ignore the bits they don’t; or b) come up with contorted rationalizations for why the most blatant, grotesque, black-and-white evil really isn’t all that bad.
Option A leaves you where most Christians are today, ignoring the horrors in the scripture and believing some made up bullshit fairy tale that ISN’T reflected in their perfect unchanging operating manual, otherwise known as The Holy Bible. Option B is where Craig is, defending the indefensible atrocities ordered by his deity.
Craig spends some time trying to defend this indefensible position, sprouting idiocies like:
By setting such strong, harsh dichotomies God taught Israel that any assimilation to pagan idolatry is intolerable. It was His way of preserving Israel’s spiritual health and posterity. God knew that if these Canaanite children were allowed to live, they would spell the undoing of Israel.
Again, the almighty creator of the universe seems more than just a little impotent, unable to fix the situation without commanding the murder of little babies and the rape of virgin woman. I’ve made this point many times before: a being able to conceive of the entire universe, create it and run it somehow can’t fix a couple of insolent people without having to pack every species of animal in a boat and flood the entire planet? The only conceivable way he can correct the evil behaviour of middle eastern city states is to command his ‘chosen people’ to engage in campaigns of genocide that involves bashing little baby heads against rocks. Seriously? And Christians believe this crap?
So here’s the brass tacks: The Christian God thinks genocide is a great way to accomplish things. He feels that bashing babies heads open is an awesome thing to do for them. He feels slavery is an awesome thing to do to heathens (or your own people, less harshly though).
And if you’re a Christian, you have to either agree and defend that or ignore it altogether. If you do either: fuck you. Fuck, you.
Do Christians understand what it is that they are defending? Do they GET the horror of what they worship? Can you conceive of just how fucking awful the things are we are talking about here.
Let’s explore some of that. Christians should study what comes next, their God fucking LOVES this shit. Hundreds of pages in The Holy Bible go on and on about it. Obviously I can’t possibly convey the abject horror and terror and… there aren’t words to describe what it is adequately.
I’ll leave out the references to the horror in the Bible so there’s an opening for some pious dick head to say something so I can get another post out of it.
God is love. Tell me another one asshole.