Here’s a question for you. First the setup: Imagine a husband and father, we’ll call him “Alan.” He sometimes writes poetry, and not too bad. He often expresses his love for his wife and children. He often says he believes in peace and beauty. But, he’s killed his two previous wives, and tortured a few of his kids to death. He beats them all regularly and often threatens them with death. The police do nothing about him, because he’s a powerful man in the community, so he goes about threatening people most of the time with impunity.
Now the question: Is Alan worthy of his children’s or the neighbor’s love and respect? He constantly goes around spewing vitriol and threatening to kill people–would you agree with his current wife when she says that he’s worth staying with because now and then he says some very beautiful things and constantly makes promises of making her happy? Or would you advise her to get the hell away from him?
This seems to be the situation for liberal and non-evangelical Christians I know. Fundamentalists and literalists are a certain brand of crazy. The liberal Christians who readily admit they don’t take the Bible literally or follow the “hateful stuff, just the parts about love,” I feel work under the same conditioned co-dependent delusion that the poor wife suffering from battered spouse syndrome does. Here’s why:
They call themselves believers and followers of a fantasy, a purely imagined and mythical vision of a character constructed from cherry-picked pieces of an ancient text. They choose to believe in a figure made of all the words of love and sunshine and vigorously ignore the bulk of the source that gives the entire picture of a god and his prophet who are basically psychopaths. Of course, in their defense, most liberal Christians never actually read the Bible (the only source of information on these figures), and believe in a mediated image of Jesus found in soft colored paintings of beatific handsomeness and compassion.
Well, here’s some of side of Jesus that most Christians either never read or actively ignore as they claim to follow him as their choice for supernatural guidance. The Freedom From Religion Foundation has a recent post:
In this article by Rochelle Weiss (not to be confused with the totally hot actress Rachel Weisz (bad IMDB photo choice, though,) although Rochelle might be hot too, I don’t know…although she seems smart and clever–and that’s pretty hot…but I digress, badly!) she enumerates twelve qualities we consider virtues today (e.g.: “Does a good righteous person honor his or her parents?”, “Does a good righteous person show respect for nature?”, “Does a good righteous person strive for peace in this world?”) and then provides scriptural examples of how Jesus actively and exhibits what we would consider deplorable, amoral, and even sociopathic behavior.
In Luke 19:27, not only does Jesus show no tolerance for another personâ€™s beliefs, but orders his followers to kill them. Jesus says, â€œBut as for those enemies of mine who did not want me for their King, bring them here and slaughter them in my presence.â€
Then, Harry McCall at Debunking Christianity provides a well researched article:
In which he describes, using scripture, how psychotically bloodthirsty the Hebrew God(s) Yahweh is in the Bible.
(Hmm, it seems as though the site published an earlier version on his article in RSS feed that is slightly different from the version linked above. Missing from the link above is this opening section:
Let me begin by stating that of all the ancient Near Eastern text we have translated today, the Hebrew god is the only deity that keeps a â€œchosenâ€ race alive so he can lead them and slaughter them as his temper and ego wanes from â€œHesedâ€ (Loving Kindness) to one of rage such a expressed in Numbers 11: 1 â€œNow the people became like those who complain of adversity in the hearing of the LORD; and when the LORD heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the LORD burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.” is derived from the nose and Yahweh is pictured as snorting in rage like a bull or expressed as a murderous deity with whom Moses must reason with and even offer himself to be consumed: â€œ So if You are going to deal thus with me, please kill me at once, if I have found favor in Your sight, and do not let me see my wretchedness.”
The rage of this deity can become so great that his consuming thirst for death must be feed: â€œThe LORD (Yahweh) said to Moses, “Take all the leaders of the people and execute them in broad daylight before the LORD (Yahweh), so that the fierce anger of the LORD (Yahweh) may turn away from Israel.” Number 25: 4. It is here we find Yahweh raging like a bull with a flaming nose from his fierce anger.
Yahweh is potrayed as an unstable and very abusive adult who just can not understand the short comings of his children and, if this “adult” god is not controlled or reasoned with, he can slaughter the entire human race (children, the unborn, along with animals which have not done anything except some undefined “sin” as in the flood story (Genesis 8 – 9). Thus animals and humans are viewed the same in the early accounts of “J” as both can be blamed and both can be sacrificed to stave off Yahwehâ€™s craving for blood and life (For example, an animal forced into a act of sex with an Israelite must be killed along with the human as Yahweh considers both now defiled in sexual sin (Leviticus 20: 15 – 16). The fact revealed here is that, just as in the story of the â€œFallâ€ from Eden with a curse placed on the serpent, and the slaughter of all the animals for being evil Genesis 6: 5 – 7, so too are humans, just like animals, considered flesh and blood that can be sacrifice to satisfy Yahweh anger.
That sums it up pretty nicely, but Harry goes into great detail how brutal, arrogant, schizophrenic, murderous, abusive, merciless, feckless, sociopathic the Hebrew god is. The god worshiped by so-called liberal Christians who cherry-pick the elements they want to believe in and construct a wholly new God to believe in that is completely and utterly counter to the God of Abraham.
Which, really, isn’t all that bad. If a person is going to believe in an anthropomorphic sky-daddy, it might as well be one as fictional as the one the ancients created but focusing on the things we believe are virtues today. But they really should accept and admit that the Yahweh they’re praying to is not the God of the Hebrews, or depicted as the “father” of Jesus. Nor is the Jesus they worship the Jesus of the Bible is certainly more of an abusive cult leader than the beatific shepherd they have in their mind.
And if they admit that the God they believe in isn’t “the staunch God of religion–I believe in a universal God that transcends one religion,” well, OK then. But then, that’s transcendentalist pantheism, not “Christianity,” and to call one’s self “Christian” with such a constructed and artificial amalgam of pieces from the Bible (and pieces purely made up) is like my calling myself a Buddhist even though I don’t believe in the tenets of Buddhism but I believe in a Buddha that invented pizza and provides me Lotto numbers (even if they never seem to pay off).
If someone wants to believe in the supernatural, some force greater than them or all of us, I can’t argue against something that can be neither proven and especially not disproven. In fact, I support people who feel a certain type of spirituality and enjoy the potential peace and fulfillment that a spiritual belief can provide. But, at least have the intellectual honesty to confess to being spiritual but able to say “I’m not a Christian.” To do otherwise makes you not just an abused spouse who holds onto the lies of the murderous husband with a death-grip, but a husband who is himself a fantastic myth.