A Modern-Day Abraham

Well, it’s no longer a scenario we have to imagine. I’m sad to say that there’s a case currently underway not far from where I live concerning a man who murdered his daughter because “Yahweh” told him to. You can read the full story here.

Stephon Lindsay killed his 20-month old daughter Maliyah in March 2013 and confessed to it not long after. As he explained to police, “I only did what he told me to do to her… he wanted me to get rid of her.” According to Lindsay, “Whoever did not have the family name will die.” And “I tried to make her right by him. He didn’t want her.”

It’s a horribly tragic story, but it’s also hard to not comment on the irony. The article I linked to makes no reference to this story being similar to the story of Abraham and Isaac, and they don’t even acknowledge that it’s the same God. As the article says, “he claimed he was told to do it by his god, Yahweh.” Most people in Etowah county, where this is being tried, are Christian, yet I doubt any of them have stopped to wonder if Lindsay might have actually been following an order from God. I have heard so many Christians over the years comment on Abraham’s great faith, without considering how terrible that story actually is. Now they see a real life example, and they immediately know that what Lindsay did is an atrocity. Sadly, most of them won’t think as deeply about this as they should.

What’s the difference between divine revelation and just a voice in your head? How could Lindsay have possibly known that God wouldn’t stay his hand just as he supposedly did for Abraham? The only real differences between these two stories is that one actually happened only 3 years ago, and the other is ancient legend. It’s the same god, and it’s the same action. Yet millions of Jews, Christians, and Muslims revere Abraham and his “great faith.”

As atheists, many of us have asked people to imagine how they’d react if they heard a voice telling them to kill their own child. Or how they would react if they heard about someone doing that because “God told them to.” Sadly, we no longer have to discuss this as mere speculation.

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63 thoughts on “A Modern-Day Abraham”

  1. hi Nate, well this is off topic somewhat. i’m sure you all remember me flipping out over my sister sending her son away to a christain boarding school. well, she just returned from visiting him and she told me that they had an exorcist casting demons out of her son. this is about to make me lose my goddamn mind. how crazy can these people get? and there’s nothing I can do about it.

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  2. Exactly. I have used the same thought process for other biblical accounts. For example, what if our soldiers killed all Iraqis and brought home the virgins? Wouldn’t we flip? What if a new husband stoned his wife because her parents couldn’t prove her virginity.

    I’m shocked at how they talk about God being love, but if we did the things of the OT we would be a barbaric and a backwards society.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thanks for all the comments!

    Sally,
    I totally agree. I’ve run across a number of Christians who complain about the barbarism of Islam without stopping to think about the same level of atrocities in the Old Testament.

    Steve,
    Excellent point. I’m currently reading Peter Boghossian’s A Manual for Creating Atheists, and that’s the exact definition he uses for faith, too. Really makes the ridiculousness stand out.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The following episode from The Thinking Atheist addresses this issue (with a twist). I have tried to save it as the 7 minute mark where the relevant part starts.

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  5. One exception to the author’s story, though very entertaining it was – Abe’s god wouldn’t have been called ‘Yahweh,’ he would have been ‘El Shaddai.’ The Jews didn’t decide his name was ‘Yahweh’ until Exodus 3:6 and 6:3.

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  6. Sad, and you’re right to point out the correlation between stories. Perhaps you should send this article into the local newspaper and see if they’ll publish it as an OpEd.

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  7. Somehow I thought you and Matt lived in the same state, you in Dallas, Matt in Austin. My mistake.

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  8. Hey Paulie,

    Not sure why your comment got caught up in spam — sorry about that! And even sorrier to hear about your nephew. I hope he doesn’t suffer any long-term damage from all this. Luckily, he has an uncle like you who can give him a saner perspective on things once he’s out.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh Paulie … that’s awful! I’m so sorry. Perhaps your best action would be to not talk to your sister at all about your nephew. And if she brings up the subject, just tell her you’d rather not talk about it because it pains you too much. I dunno’ if that will work, but I do know this … you’ll be in my thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow! I was just thinking about you Pauli, and wondering how you were!

    That poor kid is going to come out of there SO much more fucked up than he went in!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. My favorite part of the movie was when the cable guy died. I’ve never liked Jim Carey or Will Farrel.

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  12. Wow, really? I was never the biggest fan of Jim Carrey’s typical comedies, but I loved The Cable Guy. He doesn’t actually die in the movie, if you remember…

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  13. I thought he was stabbed by falling on the spire of a satellite – am I thinking of a different movie, another actor, and a different scenario entirely? I still don’t like Jim Carey, dating all the way back to his SNL days, but clearly I’m confused about the movie.

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  14. No, he definitely falls onto a giant satellite dish, and it looks like the antennae stabbed him at first… but turns out it didn’t. It shows him flying off in a helicopter where he starts to latch onto the EMT who’s helping him.

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  15. hi you guys, nate, arch nan. thanks for your support. arch is right, no sugar coatin gthis, I know what’s going on. well, my sister got so mad at me for laughing about the “exorcist” I can no longer write my nephew. my sister is a horrible person. if any one needed an exorcism it would be her sorry alcoholic evil lying ass.

    anyway. I’ve been staying off the computer pretty much, it’s messing with my head. just makes me angry everytime I log on. lol

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  16. thank you Nan. i’m trying to do my best. i’m actually going to go start seeing a therapist next week to talk about all of this, because I cannot discuss it with anyone around me. they all think that my nephew being sent away to a Christian boarding school is a great idea and that having an exorcist pray over him is just fine and dandy.
    I think it’s nuts and they’re nuts.
    they think I just dont’ “understand”.
    i’m doing my best not to let it drive me crazy.
    I do appreciate all of your support.

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  17. right, Melissa joan hart, aka “Sabrina the teenage WITCH. too funny. I hope she wiggles her nose in the movie and resurrect a dead cat or something like she did on tv. I loved that show.. lol.

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  18. Good! It sounds like you really do need to talk this out with an unbiased party. My only advice? Make sure the therapist isn’t a Christian. Many of them are, even though they don’t say so in so many words. That’s the last thing you would need!

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  19. Melissa Joan Hart has never had a successful series, just as Kevin Sorbo, of the first movie, hasn’t had a steady job since “Hercules,” which lasted for only 4 years, 20 years ago – apologetic films seem to be the dumping ground for out-of-work actors, and they seem to have motif, “Christians good, Atheists bad!”

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  20. thanks Nan, I just received in the mail a questionnaire i’m to fill out before my appt.
    one of the very first questions is
    “do you have any religious/spiritual preference?

    I wrote, ” I prefer they keep their nonsense to themselves and stop being such lying frauds.”

    so, if my therapist is a christian, that will be the very first thing I discuss with her, and if she is, most likely it will be the last thing I discuss with her.

    seriously, thanks for caring you guys.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. i’m doing my best not to let it drive me crazy.

    Oh, I think we all know that that ship has sailed, we just happen to like your kind of crazy!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. You do a great job of that. Nate originally objected to your avatar, but I think he’s gotten over that now. Nate’s an example of being not quite crazy enough.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. I’ve always kind of liked the actor playing the prosecutor, and the guy playing the judge. And the teenage girl showing in the thumbnail is on the Goldbergs, which is a great show. I’ve really liked her in it! Hate to see her in crap like this. 😦

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  24. nate is a good guy.
    I can’t comprehend being as civil as he.
    to me, that’s CRAZY!!!!
    oh well, somebodies got to do it.

    i’m glad to see you are all still here doing what you do. i’ll check back in more often.

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  25. I’ve always kind of liked the actor playing the prosecutor

    Me too, Ray Wise once had a series, “Reaper,” in which he played Satan – he had the best quips and one-liners! “Speak of the me —

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  26. I wont watch the movie, but i don’t really care that they made one. And I don’t really care if a teacher acknowledges a believe in whatever they believe in, especially if they’re asked. Exchange of ideas doesn’t have to equal indoctrination. Granted, there may be a fine line, but that’s life.

    But the Christians should know that if they get to do it, then it’s allowed for everyone, whether Muslims, Wickens, Satan Worshipers and even atheists.

    I just really don’t care and personally think society encourages being offended

    So the movie looks dumb. Let the fools have their “first world persecution” movies.

    Liked by 2 people

  27. well, i’m trying to be on the internet as little as possible these days. for Nate and Carmen who were facebook friends, I just deleted my account because I couldn’t take another minute of the things I was seeing when I signed in. I barely watch any television anymore, it’s 24hours of Donald trump. now i’m just watching dvd’s or playing video games. currently Dead Space 2, it’s ok, perhaps Natge can give me some suggestions, i’m still on xbox 360

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  28. Hmm, I think you’ve said that you played Red Dead Redemption, right? And maybe Mass Effect? If you haven’t played the Mass Effect games, I highly recommend those. They’re my favorite on the 360. The first one has a good story, but the play controls aren’t as great as the 2nd and 3rd games… you don’t necessarily have to play the first.

    If you like The Walking Dead, you might enjoy the Walking Dead video games from TellTale games. Great story lines, and you have some choice about how they play out.

    Also, while it’s technically meant for kids, the Lego Marvel video game is really, really good. Came out a few years ago. The sequel came out just a month or two ago. Very fun. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  29. hi Nate, Nan, Arch. well, I went to see a therapist yesterday regarding the issues with my sister and nephew. turns out she was a Christian.
    I said to her, “If I told you I knew of a child that was being abused sexually and I could do everything in my power to stop it, but instead I just sat back and watched it happened, she would think I was a bad person and would by law be required to call law enforcement on me. But if god does the same thing, she would say, Thank you, jesus.”
    LOL
    She suggested to me to find another therapist.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. It’s already been shown a number of times that some states simply don’t care. They want to insert their god into any and all aspects of government (and personal, if possible) life and will do what it takes to do so.

    And until someone makes a stink by pointing out the Constitutional laws, they’ll get away with it because most of their constituents support their actions..

    Liked by 1 person

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