This thread is dedicated, with thanks, to Cogito, Ergo Sum, and his post claiming that the God of the Old Testament is a bumbling, primitive, idiot
who cannot be worshiped by any sane human.
In my time on ATS I've come to learn that, when an astonishing statement is made, things are usually returned to normal by reading the source article
and seeing what the poster has left out. I wondered if that might be the case here.
This time, the source article is the entire Old Testament. I’m not familiar enough to recall all that’s in it, nor am I planning to read the
entire set of books for this thread. What I will do is look at a few examples and see if there are clues to what is really going on.
One of the most common objections is based on Leviticus
. Commands such as
Do not clip your hair at the temples, nor trim the edges of your
beard, do not lacerate your bodies for the dead, and do not tattoo yourselves. I am the Lord.
The objections are usually, “What a silly law,” and “Why don’t today’s Christians follow all of them?”
One of the main purposes of these laws was to keep the Israelites identifiable and separate from their neighbors. God had set them aside to be a
special people dedicated to Him, and things like scraggly beards were simple ways of doing that. Other laws, such as the dietary and health laws also
served to re-emphasize the distinction between pure and impure.
Christians aren't obligated to follow all of those laws for two reasons. One:
These are the commandments which the Lord gave Moses on Mount Sinai for the Israelites.
Two, some of the laws are based on their culture and the surrounding world. They don’t necessarily apply now. Also, Jesus explained how the law
would be fulfilled in His acts and His teachings. As an example, He gathered grain for His disciples on the Sabbath while explaining the Sabbath was
made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
But some of the laws are in a different category, they are moral laws. Even if “Thou shalt not kill” was found nowhere in the New Testament, that
moral law is binding upon all, throughout time.
Now, what about the slaughter of the six nearby nations? Surely that shows God to be barbaric?
However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Completely
destroy them – the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites – as the LORD your God has commanded
Consider the people whom God ordered destroyed. They practiced adultery, bestiality, burning children as a sacrifice to Molech, and temple
prostitution, among other practices. Apparently, according to Clay Jones,:
“Molech was a Canaanite underworld deity represented as an upright, bull-headed idol with human body in whose belly a fire was stoked and in
whose arms a child was placed that would be burnt to death.” Jones goes on to inform his reader of Plutarch’s report from that time in history:
“…the whole area before the statue was filled with a loud noise of flutes and drums so that the cries and wailing should not reach the ears of the
I think I can understand God’s response:
Because their land has become defiled, I am punishing it for its wickedness, by making it vomit out its inhabitants.
God couldn't allow His chosen people who would produce the Messiah, or the rest of the world for that matter, to be influenced by the survival of
Malech worship in the lands promised to the Israelites.
One other charge that Cogito, Ergo Sum makes deserves a brief look, I suppose. That is that God created faulty humans, humans that could do wrong
things. The statement would be correct if altered to read “God created free humans.” Does Cogito, Ergo Sum really fault God for not making
people to be robots who could only do what God wanted them to do? His position seems to be that a God who created free people can’t be worshiped,
and a God that created unfree people can’t be worshiped.
In reviewing his post, I see that Cogito, Ergo Sum, is also concerned that Jesus had to be tortured and killed as a sacrifice to atone for humanity's
sins. God, and even unbelievers, seem to be consistent in believing that serious crimes need to be punished by death, even if our current tradition
only requires that the offender die in jail.
But even in our "enlightened" modern times, judges see that life in prison just isn't a severe enough punishment. That's why you'll occasionally
see sentences of 3,000 years, or some other impossible sentence. When God saw the sins of the world, past and future, it was obvious that killing one
sinner, or even a hundred, wasn't the appropriate sentence. But as we are all sinners, and God had promised not to destroy the entire world, the
best solution was the one He chose. But even that isn't the point of Christianity.
The point, the glory of Christianity, isn't Christmas when He was born, it isn't Good Friday when He died, it is Easter when He rose from the dead.
He gave us hope with His resurrection, the promise of Life after death. He showed us the path we can follow. How key is the Resurrection?
And if Christ has not been raised, then empty is our preaching; empty, too, your faith. . . . and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is
vain; you are still in your sins.
This thread was intended to help me explore some serious questions that are frequently raised. I don’t believe that I have found completely correct
and final answers. My thanks in advance, therefore, to those who are willing to help me explore this subject.