The blog Thomisic Bent has been doing a series lately on why it was perfectly okay for God to command the Israelites to slaughter entire ethnic groups in the Old Testament, even down to the women and children. I’ve felt obliged to comment on all of them, because toward the end of my time as a Christian I began to realize just how heinous these stories are. Could you imagine God commanding something like the shootings in New Town, CT? As crazy as it sounds, what the OT suggests is even more horrific.
Thomistic Bent’s latest post, “Holiness and the Justice of God,” continues his rationale for accepting some of the Bible’s most blasphemous claims about God. Here’s an an excerpt:
As long as we compare ourselves to each other, we can convince ourselves that we’re not so dirty, and it’s really the other guy who needs a bath. But when we truly see how holy God is, we suddenly know how dirty we are…
God is patient, but will eventually demand a separation. In God’s terms, this is Hell, which is a separation from God, away from His good graces, a place where we can have what we want, to be left alone.
So we all deserve separation from God. But what if God were to select some, clean them up, and give them another chance? If He takes some of the filthy rags and cleans it up, He is not bound to take all the filthy rags.
So is part of the answer with God’s actions with the Canaanites. If God acted the way He does in the rest of the Bible, then we can conclude that He likely gave them plenty of notices about what He expected, and plenty of chances to change. The Canaanites refused, so He ordered all of them separated from Him into Hell.
Meanwhile, we sit around and compare one of them with the other and with ourselves, and say some of them are not so bad, for it seems to us that they did not do much wrong. We feel this way because we are comparing the Canaanites to ourselves, comparing one filthy rag with another. But if we, or the Canaanites, were to realize how holy God is, we would all, along with Isaiah and Peter, beg God to cast us away, for we are all deserving of separation. Only by God’s infinite mercy do any of us have a chance to change our ways.
Using this kind of logic, I could make the same case about dogs. When you compare one dog to another, there’s little difference. But when you compare a dog to a human, it’s suddenly quite clear that dogs are filthy, stupid, and completely uncivilized. That’s why we are well within our rights to wipe out all dogs. It’s what they deserve for not being as clean, intelligent, and civilized as we humans. In fact, the dogs would completely agree with us, if they could ever come to understand just how much better than them we really are. If we decide to spare any dogs, it only shows how merciful we are.
Does that really make sense? Or is it more rational for the higher being to accept the lower being for what it is? What’s even worse, when we think about this in terms of God, is that he supposedly created us to be exactly the way we are. If he’s all powerful, he could have given us the same level of perfection that Jesus had so that we would be able to live more perfectly and be more pleasing to him. Instead, he purposely handicapped us, and then decided to reject us because of the same handicap. He wants us to hate ourselves, merely for the “crime” of being what he created us to be. What kind of monster would operate in such a way?
The problem with people like the writer of Thomistic Bent is that they unquestioningly accept whatever the Bible tells them without really thinking about its implications. And I should know — I used to operate the same way. If you dig back far enough into this blog, you’ll see what I mean. But the problem with that position is that God himself has not told the writer of Thomistic Bent that all these things actually happened, or that he would have approved of them even if they had. No, these stories were passed down from generation to generation before being written down by mere men. We don’t have the original copies. And all the copies we have are divergent in certain areas. And God didn’t hand us a list of which books were authentic — that was decided by groups of men. At every step along the process, the books of the Bible have mankind’s fingerprints all over them… why in the world would we still assume that they contain the actual words of God, especially when they contain such disgusting barbarism and attribute it to him? Not to mention this type of vengeful God was typical for ancient Canaan.
Look, guys like the writer of Thomistic Bent mean well. They think they’re performing a public service by warning us about the scary sky-monster that they worship. They believe that the Christian god is very real, and their definitions of goodness, morality, justice, and mercy have been contaminated to the point that they can read everything about God in the Bible and not see it as contradicting those qualities. It’s a sad and dangerous state to be in. It’s religious fundamentalism. And while we look at the perpetrators of events like 9/11 as warped and backward, they were merely the fundamentalists of a different religion. If Christians believe that it was just for God to command the slaughter of an entire nation of people, down to the very last infant, then we can only hope they never begin to believe that he commands something similar for today.
I wish people like this would realize that even if the Christian God is real, he created us with the ability to question and reason. Even some passages in the Bible talk about the value of questioning things. If they could only apply those questions to the Bible — a collection of books that they agree were written by men, many ages ago — then maybe they would begin to see the problems in the Bible for what they are. If there really is a God, and he really does possess the qualities of goodness, morality, justice, and mercy, then such an honest, objective search for truth could only be pleasing to him, even if it leads someone away from religion altogether.
130 thoughts on “God Made Us This Way — It’s Only Reasonable He’d Be Angry About It”
If I, in all of my human frailty, could care less what most people think of me … then how could it make any sense that a GOD would care?
No, this bloke does not mean well, Nate, he is an arse of the first degree. He restricts comments, never engages in truly honest discussion and is as condescending as hell in the face of all reasonable challenges to his posts.
There are several christians of this ilk who are not really worth the time spent reading their posts. But I shall, just to see your comments.
I admire your patience with him.
It’s a terrible thing, a damn near paralyzing thing, to come to the realization that God, if published reports are to be trusted, is both good *and* evil. Because God is all-powerful.
This blogger you’ve been interacting with (or attempting to, anyway) seems to me to not be able to accept that. He seems unable to look God in the eye. He’s not alone. We need an omnipotent deity to be One of the Good Guys. Because if somebody like Loki is actually running the show, well…
You should pick up “The Sparrow”, by Mary Doria Russell. You’d love it.
Haven’t been to his site lately but I think anyone who has words to rationalize those heinous crimes committed in the name of god is not fit to live among us.
@guywiththeeye — great comment; couldn’t agree more.
@Ark — Thanks for the comment (and compliment). I definitely get frustrated with him. I just keep trying to give him the benefit of the doubt.
@makagutu — Thanks for the comment. I feel kind of sorry for the guy at Thomistic Bent, because I do think I understand where he’s coming from. He also feels disturbed when he reads about the genocides described in the OT. He probably even feels bothered by the concept of Hell, and I think that’s why he tries so hard to rationalize both these things. After all, the Bible also tells him that God is good, loving, and merciful. And the Bible can’t be wrong, can it? So when he sees these examples that so clearly go against the qualities that God is supposed to embody, he can’t allow himself to see the contradiction — he’s forced to rationalize the extreme brutality. It’s really sad. I guess something that should be pitied as much as it’s reviled.
@rodalena — Thanks! I appreciate the book suggestion. I haven’t heard of it, but I’ll definitely check it out. I’ve just added it to my Amazon wishlist. 🙂
Yeah, this is the crux of it, isn’t it? The guy at Thomistic Bent is trying to have it both ways — a perfectly good God that also commands and approves of things like genocide, eternal torture, infanticide, etc.
I think that a brutal god fits in very well with the ancient Canaanite cultures — it’s not surprising to me that they believed such a barbaric god would also be “good.” But now that modern society has progressed to a point that we can recognize the humanity in every individual, regardless of their “tribe,” we realize that ethnocentrism doesn’t jive with perfect morality.
So either the god of the Bible is a fiction, or just like you stated, he’s both good and evil. Either scenario would explain the contradictory accounts of the Bible, because why should we expect it to be completely true if it’s inspired by a god who’s just as capricious as we can be?
That such a god might exist is probably the most terrible scenario imaginable, because even if you try to serve him, who’s to say he won’t tire of you at some point anyway? How can you trust a megalomaniac who really is all powerful? It’s like trying to be Hitler’s favorite lieutenant. Even if you win his favor, is that really a good thing?
I did take some time to look back at your older posts back from 2006 and sure enough just like you said you tried to justify genocide in the bible as well, and I don’t write this as a judgement but I write it because I believe we can all take this as a lesson – even the most thoughtful, kind, and even reasonable people can be led to believe in very dangerous ideas. When I was a Christian I too somehow believed that there was some answer to why God had commanded these kinds of things – my own answer was that “it was a mystery that I just didn’t have an answer to yet”, but many of these kinds of passages in the bible always sat in the back of my mind as very troubling pieces of my own belief system. So, in short, if you do believe you may be able to convince Thomistic Bent then don’t give up on him. You of all people with your incredible patience and the fact that you once believed much like he did are the right person to be able to interact properly with him. I wish other more liberal Christians had the patience to do the same.
For the most part I am a live and let live kind of person, but I do draw lines somewhere, and I do believe it is very well worth the efforts to try and sway people like Thomistic Bent who believe very dangerous and scary ideas. Your analogy to terrorism is spot on, and a scary thought indeed. Thanks for having the patience to do this!
Hi Nate, you know what I think about all this, so I won’t bore you again with the details. We mostly agree, you and I. But I will raise one matter where we probably won’t agree. If nothing else, conflict helps your visit stats! : )
“we can only hope they never begin to believe that he commands something similar for today”
I agree with your sentiment, though I don’t think it is very likely. But I feel your anger or concern at these thoughts reflect a view of the value of human life and of ethics that your current atheism cannot justify. Why are human beings worth more than dogs if atheism is true? Why should I care about another nation (be it Canaanites or Iraqis) if there is no objective morality?
I think you are still living with the christian morality you grew up with, and I hope you continue to. But it may not be logical for you now.
I have a greater fear of logical atheists, naturalists and determinists getting control than of fundamentalist christians. Read up on what atheists like Peter Singer, Alex Rosenberg, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins say about freewill, ethics, raising children, the delusions of religion, etc, and ask yourself how they would treat religious people if they were in charge. They are good people in many ways, especially Singer (he’s an Aussie! and a compassionate and selfless man), but they could do many fearful things believing it was best for society, because they don’t have an objective ethic to stop them. At least, that’s how it appears to me.
I’d rather any day an ex-christian atheist like you! : )
Your final paragraph is puzzling. Suppose, as you submit in that paragraph, that the Christian God is real, and he has revealed himself to us in scripture, and he has created us with reason to aid us in a search for Truth (the Truth being that he exists, and scriptures reveal him accurately, and we have the reason to figure that out). How then could it possibly make sense that he would be happy that some people turn from belief in him while claiming reason as the grounds? In this scenario their reason is faulty, at best, or they have deceived themselves, at worst.
In fact, this is exactly what scripture describes we have done. We have used the reason and intelligence God has give us to find a “better way”. In ancient times people used other gods. The Romans worshiped their own ideals. The Pharisees worshiped their own ideals. We all worship our own ideals. This is our nature. Jesus came to accept the blow we deserve. According to his death, this includes brutal punishment and agonizing death. You can look inside yourself and determine whether you feel you deserve punishment or reward. This will determine what you ultimately believe.
I really appreciate the thoughfulness and respect with which you talk about these things, Nate. That’s something I can’t say about other Christians and sceptics I’ve read. I know the depths of my heart too well, and I’ve witnessed too much in this life to see the myself and people in general having the innocence you seem to think we have. I know what I and the people who’ve done the things I’ve seen deserve. This is why I simply cannot let go of the salvation and hope that is promised in Christ. Thanks for the food for thought.
Nate and Uncle E,
The subject of morality is not a simple one which is why it gets hashed out so many times on blogs like these.
I am going to try to be a little more direct this time, and maybe bring your blog ratings up a small bump as well. 😉
“God does not exist therefore moral truths do not exist” has the same logical validity as this: “wine does not exist therefore cheese does not exist”. Yes, my point is there is no logical validity at all to these sentences. Just because people have connected 2 ideas together for many centuries is not a reason to claim they are logically connected. Uncle E is spreading a false idea which I believe many atheists and theists seem to see as true because it has been imbedded within us by our cultures. I hashed this out a little with Uncle E before, and I realize that he’s being a little loose with words when he uses the word “illogical”, but this subject of morality is really a very important one that I do think it is worth calling this kind of stuff out.
The existence of moral truths can be (and is) considered separately from the existence of God. There are many atheist philosophers who believe in objective morality, speak out about this, and also work out details of what this kind of ethic looks like. They may be wrong, and I’m sure we could poke holes in the details of their ethics, but I really have never seen a well reasoned logical argument for proving that moral truths cannot exist because gods do not exist.
Ha, Nate, is this a change or just a trial? I liked your old design, but I like this better – for now at least.
Nate, you said: “So either the god of the Bible is a fiction, or just like you stated, he’s both good and evil. Either scenario would explain the contradictory accounts of the Bible, because why should we expect it to be completely true if it’s inspired by a god who’s just as capricious as we can be?
That such a god might exist is probably the most terrible scenario imaginable, because even if you try to serve him, who’s to say he won’t tire of you at some point anyway?”
Come on, Nate, you know what the scriptures say about repentance. I understand if you don’t agree with what the Bible teaches……there are plenty of people like that. And I really don’t expect the average atheist to know what the scriptures teach, for they don’t really read them. But you know what the Bible says about those who repent, that God always loves a contrite heart. You have every right to disagree with what the scriptures teach, but please at least represent what they say. If the Bible teaches anything, it teaches that He loves a repentant heart and always accepts those who turn to Him. It’s always the hard-hearted ones who God rejects, and He always accepts the one who turns to him for forgiveness, and never casts them out.
Regardless of what you think about how God treats unrepentant sinners, you know that it teaches everlasting love towards those who turn to Him. There’s always time for anyone on earth to turn to Him, and He has promised not to cast them out. At least represent correctly what it teaches.
Hi unkleE, thanks for the comment!
Ooh, I don’t know. I’d have to disagree with that one. There are some pretty scary Christian fundamentalists out there. In fact, every time one shows up in an election here in the US, they’re usually the candidates that scare me the most.
I’m probably not as well-read on these guys as you are, but I am familiar with some of what Dennett, Harris, and Dawkins have said about morality, and I don’t think they would do anything to religious people. They certainly disagree with them, vehemently at times, but they also value the individual’s right to go his own way. In fact, one of the things they seem to dislike the most about certain Christians is their propensity to push their own beliefs on everyone else. When it comes to morality, each of these guys believe (to put it in a very basic form) that morality should be based on whatever increases human well-being. In most cases, I think that would point them in the right direction.
There’s still more study on morality that I need to do, as I mentioned in our last discussion on the issue, so I won’t dig into it any further at the moment.
Thanks! And I prefer Christians like you! 😉 By the way, thanks for the feedback on this new theme. I really liked my old one, and I’ve been using it for quite a while. But I happened to run across this one, and I like it so far too. I like the color scheme as well as the wider column for the articles. I’ll probably hang onto it for a while.
I appreciate you digging back into some of my earliest posts, though I’m a bit sorry you had to see them. But thanks so much for the kind things you said about me. I appreciate that more than I can say.
Also, thanks for your comment on morality. I’ve just gotten around to reading the posts you’ve done on the subject, and I thought they were very good. It’s a really difficult subject to talk about — in some ways, talking about morality is more difficult than just being moral. And I’m not sure that we’ll ever come to a consensus on why we value morality the way we do, but it’s very obvious that theists and non-theists alike do find value in it (other animals do as well).
When my faith was slipping away, I worried that my feelings on morality might change, but I really think they became more refined. I realized that I had many good reasons not to steal or rape that had nothing to do with whether or not some authority told me I shouldn’t do it. And it helped me see that some of the things I had thought were moral issues (like how often someone goes to church) had no real bearing on true morality at all.
Anyway, like I told unkleE, there’s more study that I need to do on morality, so I won’t muddy the waters any further. Thanks again for the comment!
Thanks for the kind comment, and I appreciate your weighing in.
This is a great question, and I totally see where you’re coming from. I guess the best way to answer it is to say that I’ve come to my conclusion because of my great respect for God, regardless of whether or not he exists.
Matthew 7 says that if we seek, we shall find. The apostle Paul claimed that he had done everything in all good conscience — even when he had been wrong. In Acts 10, God sent Peter to Cornelius to teach him the truth of the gospel, because even though Cornelius had been serving God incorrectly, his sincerity was apparent. God, in other words, admires effort.
I am sincere in my search for truth. I was a very devout Christian that believed in Biblical inerrancy for many years. I taught (and converted) others — I made serving God the centerpiece of my life. When I left Christianity, it was not over personal reasons, it was not about a rejection of Christian morality, etc. It was solely about textual and doctrinal issues that I could no longer reconcile. In other words, I have gotten to my present state through a sincere search for truth. I don’t “know better” deep down — I honestly don’t believe in the god of the Bible. And I have no fear of Hell, because I believe it’s a myth.
So if the Christian God is real, I don’t see any just way that he could condemn me for my present beliefs. I haven’t gotten here out of rebellion — I’ve actually put forth more effort to understand the Bible than most Christians I know. I don’t mean that to be insulting toward them or boastful of myself — I just view that as an accurate statement. And since I believe the God of the Bible to be a righteous being, I’m confident that my efforts would be pleasing to him, in a weird way.
I can’t speak for anyone else. I’m sure there are atheists who haven’t been as sincere in their quest for truth, so I don’t know how God would view people like that. But I’m also sure there are Christians who haven’t been very sincere in their search for truth either — will God judge them any different than the atheist if they’re only Christian by accident of birth or circumstance? When it comes down to it, it gets harder and harder to estimate who might be saved and who won’t…
Sorry for the lengthy response! I hope my rambling made at least a little sense. 🙂
Thanks for commenting! I hope I haven’t offended you in any way with this post. That’s really not my intent, even though I know some of the statements are strongly worded. It’s not easy to hold the positions you do, since even most Christians would probably view you as too legalistic, etc. So I admire your conviction, even though we disagree. I’ve been there myself. 🙂
Yes, I do know what the Bible teaches about repentance. I’m not trying to mislead anyone. However, the Bible says many things about God, and this is where the problems set in. Rodalena is quite right: there are many biblical reasons to think that God is not all-good and all-loving, despite what some passages claim.
To put it simply, the Bible portrays God as an abusive parent. Romans 5 says that Christ’s sacrifice was so important because he freely offered himself up for us while we were still sinners. This shows the level of concern that God has for us, even when we aren’t yet on his side. But we can’t really say this is an unconditional love, because if we don’t do the things he wants, he threatens to torture us for eternity. We only receive his love when we apologize for our individuality and human nature and promise to serve him. This is kind of like the dad that has nothing to do with his kids (other than mistreat them), until one of them becomes rich or famous. Then he’s interested.
Maybe that’s the way he really is. But if so, it doesn’t fit characteristics like perfectly good, moral, loving, merciful, longsuffering, etc. So we can (1) pick and choose the aspects of his character we want to believe in, (2) we can change the definitions of those characteristics to fit the actions attributed to him in the Bible, (3) we can assume that he is both good and evil, which would mean that some of his claims (but which ones?!) may not be truthful, or (4) we can recognize that parts or all of the Bible may not be inspired after all. At the moment, I can’t think of any other possibilities to explain the wild array of behaviors and characteristics attributed to him. Which possibility seems most likely to you?
I hope that explains my position a little better. Thanks again for chiming in.
HI Howie, I’m not sure if there’s any need to “call out” anything. I am very happy for a friendly discussion of where we disagree!
I didn’t actually say this, in fact I didn’t mention God at all. All I suggested was that naturalism/atheism has certain consequences. You have responded by not making any comment about those consequences. Is it possible that you agree with me that those are consequences of atheism, but you wanted to point out that christians were no different to atheists in this regard? I presume not, but I don’t know. If you disagree with my comment, where would your disagreement lie?
I agree that many atheist philosophers have strong and well-worked out moral codes, but do many of them believe they are objectively true? I don’t know. Who are you referring to here? And how do they justify them as being objectively true?
You may be surprised to know that I agree with you here. But if you assumed that was my argument, then you were mistaken. Logic could arguably exist without a God, so perhaps ethics could too.
But we have the means of knowing logic (we can demonstrate the various standard logical argument forms like Modus Ponens, etc to be true), but we cannot demonstrate any true ethics in a similar way. So how can we know there are objective ethics, or what are objectively true ethical statements, without God? And how can we explain the existence of objectively true ethics without God?
So my argument is that ethics are true whether God exists or not, but only with God can we explain how they came to exist in this universe, and know what they are. How would you explain those facts?
We are agreed there. But they are a minority within christianity, and they are losing influence – Romney was chosen, not one of the more scary candidates, and Obama picked up votes even on him. People are losing respect for them. But the scary atheists look benign and claim science and academic clout on their side. If they did scary things, it would all be in the name of science and for the good of society – they would say.
So when Dawkins likens a religious upbringing to “child abuse”, he doesn’t really mean it? If I knew a child was being physically abused by its parents, I am legally bound to report it so the child can be rescued. Is that what Dawkins wants? Or is he just sounding off??
Or when Sam Harris says: “Some propositions are so dangerous that it may even be ethical to kill people for believing them” and “in certain circumstances, [torture] would seem to be not only permissible but necessary” and of Islamic nations getting nuclear weapons: “the only thing likely to ensure our survival may be a nuclear first strike of our own … [this would be] an unthinkable crime …. [but] it may be the only course of action available to us” and calls such a pre-emptive strike “an unconscionable act of self-defense” and then says: “I hope to show that the very ideal of religious tolerance—born of the notion that every human being should be free to believe whatever he wants about God—is one of the principal forces driving us toward the abyss” – you don’t think religious people shouldn’t feel even a little concerned?
Or when Peter Singer (a man who I admire in many ways for his concerns on world poverty) used to suggest that infanticide could be ethically justified, we should not be even a little alarmed? (To be fair, I think he may be revising his views here.)
I have heard of atheists in Scandinavia who burnt down many churches in response to a rabid atheist website. And when I hear atheists call christians delusional, I can’t help wondering if they ever came to power whether they would put some of us in mental asylums. You may feel sure that is an exaggeration, but I am not so sure.
Of course I know not all atheists share these views, but they have been expressed, and they should be repudiated.
Unklee at his best (sic)
Think of the fun we could have having a dickhead like Ken Ham in charge of out children’s well being.
Or even half-baked twits like our newest visitor, Humblesmith. Humble? Oh, for the love of his god.
Oh, boy! Right on, baby. Let’s get the Fundies in power! Jesus wants us all for his little sunbeams.
A radical Christian Fundamentalist at the helm of a nuclear power would likely scare the crap out of the Muslims, and then we’ll have mini- Jihads all over the place, you can bet your sorry arse, Unklee.
Ah, yes, I love to read such comments from our erstwhile intelligent religious brethren.
“Our god’s better than your god, so there, you Christian dog!”
‘Oh yeah, Raghead? OH YEAH!! Well see how you like these apples!”
Let’s hear it for Yahweh…..and Unklee, of course.
“God wills it!”
”Regardless of what you think about how God treats unrepentant sinners, you know that it teaches everlasting love towards those who turn to Him. There’s always time for anyone on earth to turn to Him, and He has promised not to cast them out. At least represent correctly what it teaches.”
Of, course it’s a bit difficult for ‘sinners’to repent after Yahweh has just enacted genocide.
How many chances did ‘He’give them?
How many chances would you give your kids before you blasted them to ”hell”’or commanded the neighbours to butcher them for not ”tidying their room” ?
You are an absolute prat.
May any god preserve us from the likes of you, sir.
Ark, let’s try to play nice. Hate the sin, love the sinner, etc… 🙂
UnkleE, I’m not familiar with those particular quotes, but I do agree that they’re troubling. I understand Dawkins’s child abuse comments, and I don’t think they’re completely off the mark, especially when you consider the irrational fear of Hell that’s instilled in many, or the extreme cases of parents keeping their children from modern medicine, etc. But I also understand that these people believe they’re doing the best thing for their children, and I wouldn’t be in favor of stepping in.
Basically, like you, I understand that good intentions can lead to disastrous results if people begin trying to push their own ideals on everyone else, whether they’re religiously or secularly motivated.
Excellent post! I have to say some of the comments are ridiculous.
“Why should I care about another nation (be it Canaanites or Iraqis) if there is no objective morality?”
LOGIC!! It makes no sense to kill other people or to allow others to kill other people. The outcomes of the action or allowance of the action are ALWAYS negative. I get so sick of hearing this. Believing there is a ‘correct’ morality is the problem, and not analysing situations logically as and when they arise. How Christians who like to think they have a brain can keep pedaling this nonsense around is totally beyond me.
Thanks for your response. You’re doing a couple things here that I think we’ll just have to disagree on. You presume that the people who suffered were not guilty of “enough” that the punishment would be warranted. Scripture teaches we are all guilty “enough” to deserve death and eternal punishment outside of the grace offered through Jesus’ accomplishment. You also presume to know more about what kind of punishment is appropriate than God. This is, to put it bluntly, the ultimate blasphemy. If God is real, as you often grant for the sake of argument, there is simply no way you can determine what punishment he can and cannot command, and who does or does not deserve it. Paul echoes what is taught in Job – that we, as created beings, cannot possibly make these kinds of judgments about God’s actions. We believe we can know more than what God knows, but this is a false premise, if you start from the position that God exists. If you start from the position that he doesn’t exist, then none of this really matters anyway.
I’m not saying all of what God commands sits well with me. A lot of it does offend me emotionally, and seems incredibly cruel. But, as someone who is convinced that Jesus and God are who they said they are, I must accept what scripture teaches about humanity, God, sin, and judgment.
You and others often make statements like “I don’t see any just way he could condemn me for my present beliefs”. You are, again, missing that we are all deserving of punishment for our rebellion against God. To claim that you are not rebelling, and that God should not punish you for coming by your position honestly, is to contradict what scripture teaches. We are, all of us, in rebellion and deserving of judgment. Every single one. This is clearly taught. To place yourself or others outside of this statement, for any reason, is to misunderstand or misrepresent what is taught.
Thanks for the reply.
Then perhaps scripture is wrong?
It seems to me that if we cannot question what Christianity teaches, then why should practitioners of other faiths question their religions? If we take the position that we can’t question anything about the religious texts we use, then there’s no way anyone would ever leave one religion for another. After all, if the Koran teaches something that seems illogical or immoral, who are we to question Allah? Better to just put our trust in him and recognize that his ways are so much higher than our own.
However, if our religions teach us to question things and seek after truth (Matt 7:7, 1 Thess 5:21), and if we possess qualities of reason that God gave us (if he exists), then does it not make more sense that we should employ those gifts of reason relentlessly and follow truth wherever it leads us?
Oh, and thanks for the comment, violetwisp!