Is the god of the old testament evil?

This came up in another thread, so Im letting the conversation split off here. I understand that most people are quite happy cherry picking and by all means, dont let me stop you, but this sort of dangerous line of thinking IS flopping around under the guise of morality, giving people terrible advice when they need it the most.

youtube.com/watch?v=Pt66kbYmXXk
Jephthah

youtube.com/watch?v=advKQG-iJs4&feature=PlayList&p=C767D1EB39788E5B&index=4

An Atheist Reads the Bible, which is more along the lines of repulsive things in the bible, not necessarily reflective of god, but certainly condemning of the OT.

Marcionism is an ancient heresy. Marcionists believe that the wrathful Hebrew God is a separate and lower entity than the all-forgiving God of the New Testament.

If nothing else these stories show (literal or not) how utterly ridiculous a book the bible is.

Have you taken the time to study the Bible since we last talked?

Atheists do not believe in the God of the OT, or any other, so it is preposterous for them to say with any conviction that He is evil. By doing so, they reduce themselves from the ranks of “free-thinkers” or even decent heretics (who vowed to raze the heavens and spit in the face of God) to the realm of literary or film critics commenting on fairy tales and ascribing vices they do not comprehend to beings they do not believe to exist.

Sort of pathetic . . .

Why on earth would one have to believe in something to be able to comment on it? I don’t believe in loch ness monster, does that mean i can’t comment on the ridiculousness of it’s proposed existence.

Why on earth would one have to believe in something to be able to comment on it? I don’t believe in loch ness monster, does that mean i can’t comment on the ridiculousness of it’s proposed existence.

Not at all, but it would be ridiculous to then call the Loch Ness Monster evil, which is a value judgement on the behavior of a non-existent entity and who, owing to it’s non-existence, has no actual behavior to assign a value to.

It is not preposterous to claim that God does not exist but, once making the positive assertion that He does not, by claiming Him to be (in addition to His non-existence) evil you plop down in the seat of a literary critic who does not like some fictional character’s actions—as if Shakespeare’s Shylock were not only not real, but a miser to boot— or a parent commenting that their child’s imaginary playmate was quite stingy in the sandbox. It is literally, nonsense.

Would it be easier to believe in God if the author of Judges had molded a friendlier deity to pass your leisure time reading about?

I doubt it, but I could be wrong. If so, then I suspect you would simply spend your time reading Deepak Chopra instead of the OT.

All my best . . .

So which way is it? are they wrong for trying to distance themselves from all the warmongering, genocide, human sacrifice, slave trade etc that was advocated in the OT or not?

I dont need to believe the villain in the saw movie series is real in order to grasp that the things he does are evil. or is that how you view those OT stories? as a catalog of things so terribly wrong, its obvious to not act in that way.

edit, another series of examples, more concise.

youtube.com/watch?v=zDCqeMS3kGI&feature=channel_page

curioosbadger writes:

I dont need to believe the villain in the saw movie series is real in order to grasp that the things he does are evil.

Why does the villain in “Saw” kill? Because he’s good at it. He kills with the joy of a technician. He glees at his efficiency in the way an accountant is satisfied with his numbers-crunching. This kind of killing is evil because it reduces humanity to an object or a theorem—it is dehumanizing in it’s sheer efficiency. Jephthah, in contrast, vowed to sacrifice his own daughter because he knew that he was unworthy of victory over more honorable men than himself (he was the son of a harlot with no inheritance among his own people), so to ask God for victory would mean that the human suffering of war would be visited upon his enemies, whom he still respected as men, and not simply as numbers, like the accountant, or objects for the infliction of his clever cruelties like the villain in “Saw”, like peasants in Stalinist Ukraine or Jews on Dr. Mengele’s tables.

Japhthah was a man of humility, who honored the humanity of his enemies and the human suffering inherent in an act of war and it cost him and his daughter as dearly as it cost the Ammonites. It is the most human of acts to willfully partake of another’s sufferings.This is why there is no conflict between the God of the OT and Jesus of Nazareth, who, by His Incarnation, Passion and Crucifixion volunteered to partake of all men’s sufferings. In older times we called it compassion because we entered into suffering with another voluntarily to affirm our mutual humanity (we now say compassion is a mere sympathy). The villain in “Saw” is a man of arrogance who kills because he thinks himself better than all men or, at least, more clever than all men. Japhthah killed, but humanity was spared. Saw’s villain murders, and all humanity disappears.

All my best . . .

No, the villain in saw kills because he is a plot device to enable the people making the movie to concoct all sorts of elaborate scenarios, which may be entertaining, but are quite well and away beyond reality. its like watching the three stooges, no action is too bizarre or motive too questionable, just so long as it gets us to the pie fight :smiley:

So is that how society should function? everyone with an inferiority complex should murder their own children because god’s favor is bought with burnt offerings? what jephthah did was inexcusable.

No, the villain in saw kills because he is a plot device to enable the people making the movie to concoct all sorts of elaborate scenarios, which may be entertaining, but are quite well and away beyond reality. its like watching the three stooges, no action is too bizarre or motive too questionable, just so long as it gets us to the pie fight

You are inadvertently making my point. Murder, an inhuman act, as nothing more than a plot device . . . dehumanized and legitimized as entertainment (the pie fight).

So is that how society should function? everyone with an inferiority complex should murder their own children because god’s favor is bought with burnt offerings? what jephthah did was inexcusable.

Societies are healthier when they honor humanity, realizing it is a human being like themselves being killed in an act of war and not merely a plot device, which is not a human, but a thing.

Humility is not an inferiority complex, and your usage of the phrase demonstrates what I’ve observed for a long time now: this tendency in pop culture devotees to take up complex psychological and philosophical ideas and reduce them to palatable catch-phrases devoid of their intended meanings. It is better to remain quiet and have others think you a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. Japhthah and his daughter understood this.

God’s favor was not “bought with burnt offerings” as the text of Judges 11 demonstrates. It was covenanted between God and man by the pledge of Japhthah’s humility, obedience and humanity.

What Japhthah did was inexcusable, eh? Only to postmodern, anachronistic, pseudo-moralists who think it humane to euthanize the suffering; abort the defenseless; and take their fun from senseless violence for violence’s sake while calling it entertainment. I’m certain that Japhthah never reduced his daughter’s death to a plot device; nor his pain to a mere chemical sentimentality. He was forced to face the reality of human suffering by his own vow. A postmodernist would simply have their daughter aborted as an inconvenience and chase any lingering doubts away with a double-mocha latte from Starbucks and a weekend at the spa reading Hitchens. That’s inexcusable!

All my best . . .

So, when the God commands the Israelites to kill, that’s simply a plot device?

yes, the point of the saw villain was that he didnt need to be real for us to agree that he is evil. if you hadnt gathered, I have a certain disgust for the saw series.

how is thinking of his daughter as a thing to be destroyed on god’s whim possibly an act of humility? which way was it, that god is unable to act without a burnt offering or that god is a malicious fiend that refuses to act without a burnt offering? obedience to evil is evil.

as evil as the cost of making god take action was to begin with, the action god took, helping one people slaughter the other was particularly heinous too. all the other option which involved no one killing anyone and god chooses slaughter. peachy, but I think Ill pass on that outlook on life.

maybe the ammonites were right to wage war on jehpthah’s degenerate, human sacrificing society?

SedesDomi writes:

So, when the God commands the Israelites to kill, that’s simply a plot device?

Not at all. My point was in contrasting the seriousness with which violence, war and even murder are treated in the OT over and against the cavalier and inhuman attitudes towards them in most popular entertainment.

curioosbadger writes:

yes, the point of the saw villain was that he didnt need to be real for us to agree that he is evil. if you hadnt gathered, I have a certain disgust for the saw series.

You miss the point. If the villain is not real, he can not, by definition, be evil or good or anything else. The movie’s approach to violence, murder and cruelty for their own sake as entertainment is dehumanizing. That is a greater evil than a fictional character within the movie could ever perpetrate.

how is thinking of his daughter as a thing to be destroyed on god’s whim possibly an act of humility?

Quite the opposite is the case. First of all, God did not initiate the vow, so it could not logically be called “God’s whim.” Second, as I stated before, Japhthah’s response when his daughter was first out of the house shows us that he never reduced her to a thing, for no one would be undone, as Japhthah was, over the sacrifice of a thing. His daughter would not have requested two months to mourn her virginity if she had been reduced to a thing. Things do not mourn. People mourn. The humility is in entering into the suffering that he, an unworthy man, was asking God’s favor for in being victorious over his fellow men, the Ammonites. The humility was in honoring the vow which he freely made to God.

which way was it, that god is unable to act without a burnt offering or that god is a malicious fiend that refuses to act without a burnt offering? obedience to evil is evil.

Neither. God created the universe out of nothing, which means He acted prior to their being anything to burn or to offer. You have yet to prove your assertion that anything Japhthah did was evil, and are certainly light years away from proving the assertion that the God of the OT is evil. You refuse to accept that honor or faith are things worthy of killing and/or dying for, let alone suffering for; therefore you call it “evil.” There may be things worth killing and/or dying for in your worldview but I am ignorant of what those things may be.

as evil as the cost of making god take action was to begin with, the action god took, helping one people slaughter the other was particularly heinous too. all the other option which involved no one killing anyone and god chooses slaughter. peachy, but I think Ill pass on that outlook on life.

Again, nothing to kill or die for . . .thank you, John Lennon. You do not even honor your enemies as enemies; that is, as real men with real convictions. And you certainly dishonor your own convictions by implying that you would never think of defending them to the death, even the death of someone else seeking to impose their convictions upon you or your loved ones by force. That is the outlook of a domesticated pet or a beaten and broken slave, but not of a healthy and free man.

maybe the ammonites were right to wage war on jehpthah’s degenerate, human sacrificing society?

Actually, you have it backwards. It was the Ammonites that routinely sacrificed their own children to Molech in the flames, not the Israelites. Given that fact, and your reasoning, you must agree after all with God’s approval of the Ammonite destruction. This puts your view and the God of the OT’s view in line with one another.

Pot meet kettle . . .

All my best . . .

People who don’t believe in the Loch Ness Monster don’t debate its supposed attributes. They certainly don’t discuss its morality! :smiley:

“this sort of dangerous line of thinking IS flopping around under the guise of morality, giving people terrible advice when they need it the most.”

I didn’t follow the links, because I don’t click on links from people who post on forums. Don’t take this personally, I will only click on links that I know are safe.

You say this thinking is flopping around. Is this just “thinking” that you’re worried about? Do you have a news story that we can verify?

If it’s thinking you’re worried about, I wonder why. Can a thought be immoral? I didn’t think that atheists got all hyped up about someone’s personal thoughts. don’t atheists beleive that thoughts are ammoral–neither moral nor immoral? Thoughts are just thoughts. Actions can be moral or immoral, but what’s the crime in a thought? Aren’t people allowed to think whatever they want?

fair enough kalt, go to youtube and search for these keywords, should be the first result for each:

Jephthah (Judges 11)

An Atheist Reads the Bible - 4 - Slavery

Biblical Evidence Proving That God is Evil

yes, it is wrong to tell people looking for answers that the solution to their problems is human sacrifice. not sure where the line is drawn with todays law, but Im pretty sure that going around telling people you will pay money to have someone killed is a criminal offense, to answer your “but its just an idea” defense.

of course people debated the lochness monster in the course of proving it didnt exist. they would certainly debate its morality too, if people were going around saying it was a source of morality. Especially if those people advocating its morality were also saying to murder children and burn their bodies because the lochness monster likes the smell:eek:

Convert66 which way is it? you lambast popular culture for glorifying violence in the same breath as you insist that this case of violence is acceptable. killing people isnt wrong because it happens in stories?:eek: villainy in movies is used to complement and highlight heroism, wheres the heroism here? we just have a guy killing alot of people, then killing his daughter.

god didnt initiate the vow? yet he fulfilled it. or are you going to attempt to claim that god doesnt do things like affect the outcome of battles, when the whole story is about human sacrifice in exchange for god to manipulate the outcome of battles. exactly what would give jehpthah the impression that god would want a burnt offering anyway? why would this sad story be included if such a thing wasnt encouraged?

lets take two seconds to think of a way to resolve this better hmm… Jephthah is going around offering human sacrifices- how about he and everyone else with that morality just die in battle? or god just says “hey its cool, you dont need to sacrifice anyone, for any reason, ever”? or his army hears about his vow and slaughters him? or his wife stands up to him and defends their daughter? failing that, his daughter run away? (thats what she would do if she hadnt been reduced to a thing, a mere prop for this repulsive story) loads of options there.

Ammonite’s kill their own children? maybe its true, or maybe victors write history. still doesnt change the fact that youre celebrating jephthah doing the same.

whether or not the story is true, its still horrible.

and ease off on the personal attacks, youre floundering.

Guess you agree with 9/11 then???

youtube.com/watch?v=3LWh6-Zyj4E

how moral.

Also i take it you all stone your unruly children??

What was done on 9/11 was cowardly and not an act of honor at all.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.