I was recently having a discussion with an atheist who had grown up in a Christian family and had gone to church for the first twenty years of her life. But she became an atheist in her 20s.
When I asked her why she became an atheist, she said, “I started reading the Bible.”
We Christians often tell people that if they would only read the Bible, they would come to see that God is real and that He loves them. We hear testimony after testimony about how drug addicts and hookers were considering suicide but somehow got a Bible and started reading it and ended up giving their life to Christ.
I am not in any way denying such accounts or stories.
But I think it is also time to admit that while many people decided to follow Jesus as a result of reading the Bible, there are many others who turned away from God after reading the Bible.
Part of this, I am convinced, is because we Christians have said that the entire Bible is the Word of God, but then we sort of ignore, gloss over, conveniently forget, or are simply dishonest about some of the more troubling portions of Scripture.
And there are many troubling portions of Scripture! (If you don’t believe me, read this book: Drunk with Blood).
I call these troubling texts “Atheist Maker Verses.” They are verses that do not point people to God, but lead people away from Him instead. Here are a few of the more blatant Atheist Maker Verses:
“See now, I have two daughters who have not known a man; please, let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them as you wish; only do nothing to these men, since this is the reason they have come under the shadow of my roof.”
As a father of three daughters myself, I cannot imagine offering my daughters to get raped so that I could protect the strangers under my roof.
And yes, I have heard the Christian explanation of this text that this was how the ancient Middle Eastern people valued hospitality. But how does that make it okay? It doesn’t.
Rather than trying to explain away Lot’s behavior according to “hospitality laws” we must condemn his behavior as horribly barbaric.
“And if a man beats his male or female servant with a rod, so that he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished. Notwithstanding, if he remains alive a day or two, he shall not be punished; for he is his property.
This was a favorite verse of slave-owners during the period of slavery in our country. In fact, all of Exodus 21 talks about the rules for treating slaves.
And apparently, you can beat your slave all you want, even within an inch of their life, because the slave is your property.
Of course, even if you kill your slave, you won’t be put to death yourself, but only punished.
This sort of verse about slaves has caused many people to turn away from God and Christianity.
And as for your male and female slaves whom you may have– from the nations that are around you, from them you may buy male and female slaves. Moreover you may buy the children of the strangers who dwell among you, and their families who are with you, which they beget in your land; and they shall become your property.
This is another verse about slaves, but this one includes the children. According to God, it is okay to buy and sell children. So apparently, everybody today who is trying to raise awareness about the human trafficking of children just needs to shut up. Apparently, God’s in favor of it.
Note as well that it is not just the Old Testament which says these sorts of things. Here is a quote from 1 Peter:
1 Peter 2:18
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.
So if you are a slave, and your master beats you harshly, the slave should just accept it. After all, fear of your master is a good thing.
As a little side note, what I find most interesting about the numerous verses all over the Bible about slavery is that modern Christians almost unanimously condemn the practice of slavery, even though the Bible condones and accepts in in numerous places.
And yet when the Bible condemns homosexuality in three verses, Christians are divided over whether or not we should follow these verses. “God’s Word said it; that settles it!” we are told. My response is, “Really? So can I meet your slaves?”
But the Bible is not just wrong about slaves. Certain texts about women are also quite appalling.
But if the thing is true, and evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done a disgraceful thing in Israel, to play the harlot in her father’s house. So you shall put away the evil from among you.
So if a woman has pre-marital sex, she should be stoned. Other texts lay guilt on the man as well, but the guilty male gets less attention than the guilty female.
“He who is emasculated by crushing or mutilation shall not enter the assembly of the LORD.
So if your penis is cut off or your balls are crushed, God does not accept your worship. God only accepts worship from people whose genitals are in good condition (minus the foreskin of course … that sort of mutilation is required by God).
The thing that gets me about such verses is how people knew who could go in to worship God and who couldn’t.
Did they have a little “inspection station” at the front door? And we complain about the TSA groping us when we get on a plane…
If two men fight together, and the wife of one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of the one attacking him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; your eye shall not pity her.
So two men are fighting and a woman steps in to defend her man, and ends up grabbing the genitals of her husband’s opponent. Rather than discipline the men for fighting in the first place, the proper response in this case is to cut off the woman’s hand.
That sounds fair.
I also wonder how this law came about… Was it a common thing for women to grab the balls of their husband’s enemy when they were fighting?
Maybe this verse had something to do with the previous one about not getting to worship God if your balls are mangled. Maybe a man could no longer pray to God because some woman crushed his balls, and so they had to make a rule against that sort of thing.
Of course, now that the woman has no hand, she can’t worship God either, because God doesn’t allow deformed people into his presence either. On other hand, He doesn’t care too much for women either…
Of course, it’s not just women God hates. He is also not fond of dwarves and hunchbacks, people with eczema, and those who have a limb that is too long…
For any man who has a defect shall not approach: a man blind or lame, who has a marred face or any limb too long, a man who has a broken foot or broken hand, or is a hunchback or a dwarf, or a man who has a defect in his eye, or eczema or scab, or is a eunuch.
To approach God, you apparently had to be a perfect male specimen, with a working penis. Everybody else could not approach Him.
But it is not just the dwarves and the blind that God was against. He also was not a big fan of children.
For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him.
How is this even remotely justified? I don’t care if a kid cursed his parents with the worst curses ever uttered, does he deserve to get stoned to death for it?
Frankly, if a kid has parents who would be willing to stone him to death for cursing them, they probably deserved getting cursed.
But no, God, apparently, sides with the parents.
And it is no wonder that the #1 sin Christians are terrified of committing today is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. I get dozens of emails about this sin every single week, and without fail, the people who think they have committed this sin feel that because they said something mean about God, God is going to burn them forever and ever in hell.
And where does such an idea come from? It comes (partly) from a verse like Leviticus 20:9 where God tells parents it is okay to kill their children if he curses them.
But God doesn’t always have children killed by stoning them. Sometimes He kills them with bears!
2 Kings 2:23-24
Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.
Apparently, even though God doesn’t want people to worship him who are blind in one eye, or have a limb too long, or have eczema, He is a big fan of bald men!
These youths learned that lesson the hard way. Bald men shall not be mocked! Especially when that bald man is a prophet.
And when God cannot get children stoned or mauled by bears, He just pronounces blessings on those who bash babies’ heads against rocks.
Happy the one who takes and dashes Your little ones against the rock!
Happy? The word here could also be translated as “blessed.”
But try to picture the scene. Was this like baby piñata day?
Imagine a soldier coming home from a day of baby-smashing. His wife greets him at the door with a kiss. “So how was your day, honey?” she says.
“Great! God was really at work in me today! I got to smash babies against a rock wall! We all praised God as we did it. The Spirit was really moving! I must have killed ten or twelve, but that Joash, he got over twenty! He’s a beast! The best part is that now we are going to be blessed because of all the babies we killed. I’m standing on the promises of God!”
How to Handle Atheist Maker Verses
I could go on and on with these sorts of verses.
But here’s the point: What are we to do with these sorts of “Atheist Maker Verses?”
There are three basic Christian responses.
1. We can stick our head in the sand.
Many Christians look at these difficult and troubling texts and say, “God is good all the time, and He gave us His Word to show us that He is good, and so while I don’t understand how these texts can reveal a good God, we know they must, and so I believe they do.”
It is this sort of response that does not help people at all.
In fact, I would say that, more than the verses themselves, it is this response that causes people to become atheists. Such a response is so irrational and ignorant, that most of the world simply cannot accept it.
Nor should they.
God cannot be both good, kind, and loving, while at the same time commanding genocide, praising the smashing of babies’ heads against walls, and sending bears to maul children because they made fun of a prophet’s baldness.
If Christians want people to see God as He truly as, as the God revealed in Jesus Christ, rather than sticking our heads in the sand, we must find some way to side with the world in condemning such texts of terror. This leads to the next two ways of responding to these texts.
2. Call them Errors in the Bible and be Done with It
Probably the simplest way to handle these troubling texts in the Bible is to handle them the same way we handle violent texts like this in Greek Mythology, in the Qu’ran, or in ancient historical documents.
How is that? We say that the people were flat-out wrong in what they did and the reasons they gave for doing it.
And while this approach is increasingly common with many Christians today, it makes many others quite uncomfortable, because then we are admitting that there are errors in Scripture, and that maybe God didn’t inspire it after all.
So while this helps explain the violence in Scripture, it does so at the expense of Scripture itself. We are left with something that, in my opinion, is less than Scripture.
This is why I prefer the third approach:
3. Realize that the purpose of the text IS condemnation
There is a way to both affirm inspiration and inerrancy while at the same time denying that God had anything to do with it.
I am working on writing a more thorough explanation for a future book on this subject, but the short explanation is that we can view the Bible as a divinely-inspired text which inerrantly reveals human error. In this way, we get a glimpse into our own hearts by reading Scripture.
We see ourselves on the pages. We see our tendency to demonize our enemies. We see our desire to take what is not ours. We see our addiction to blaming God for our own evil actions. We see our habit of scapegoating the outsider. We see how easy it is to excuse our own sin and turn a blind eye to our moral failures.
When we approach Scripture this way, we can agree with the Atheists about the moral repugnance of these violent texts, but then turn around and say that the reason God inspired these texts to be written in Scripture is not to justify such behavior and actions, but to challenge us to not do such things ourselves.
Study the Bible with Atheists
At least, this is the way I have been learning to read Scripture, but it is still something I am working on
How about you? How do you read these violent and gruesome texts? How do you understand them? What would you say to someone who has rejected God because of verses like these? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Heather Goodman says
I give them Peter Enns’s book, “Inspiration and Incarnation”
Jeremy Myers says
I love that book, and the new book by Peter Enns, The Bible Tells Me So.
robert sumners says
In reply to John, Jeremy i stated, i’m so sick & tired of these Christians trying to apply a kinder nature to this barbaric, bloodthirsty tyrant. There are so many far -fetched, absurd nonsensical verses in the bible.
How do you know if this ”absurd” magical nonsense listed ”below” is true, ”outside what the bible says ??, all you have is ANECDOTAL evidence, ??? lots of other religions and their bibles say lots of things to, does that make them all true to??
Here are just a few of them:
The Bible has stories about a talking snake (Genesis 3:4-5); a tree bearing fruit which, when eaten, gives knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17; 3:5-7); another tree whose fruit bestows immortality (Genesis 3:22); a voice coming from a burning bush (Exodus 3:4); a talking donkey (Numbers 22:28); rods turning into serpents (Exodus 7:10-12); water changing into blood (Exodus 7:19-22); water coming from a rock (Numbers 20:11); a dead man reviving when his corpse touched the bones of a prophet (II Kings 13:21); and other people rising from the dead (e.g., I Kings 17:21-22; II Kings 4:32-35; Acts 9:37-40).
There are also accounts of the sun standing still (Joshua 10:13); the parting of a sea (Exodus 14:21-22); iron floating (II Kings 6:5-6); the sun’s shadow going back ten degrees (II Kings 20:9-11); a witch bringing the ghost of Samuel back from the dead (I Samuel 28:3-15); disembodied fingers writing on a wall (Daniel 5:5); a man living for three days and nights in the belly of a fish (Jonah 1:17); people walking on water (Matthew 14:26-29); a virgin impregnated by God (Matthew 1:20); a pool of water that can cure ailments of those who dip in it (John 5:2-4); and angels and demons influencing earthly affairs (e.g., Acts 5:19; Luke 11:24-26). ????????
Jeremy Myers says
Be careful not to lump all Christians together as having the same exact beliefs. It sound like you think that I believe the same thing that other Christians believe about how to understand Scripture. I don’t. And many others don’t either. So before you say our view is absurd, a better approach might be to learn what our view actually is.
Thomas W Bergere says
Ok, cool. Please explain why you can cherry-pick through the Buybull and still do what Jesus said to do; like remaining Kosher. Are you Kosher? Have you sold all of your belongings and given the money to the poor? Have you forsaken your friends, family and your own life also to give it all to Jesus? Do you worry about tomorrow? etc. etc…
I dont care what yall believe so long as you keep it to your self (out of the public sphere (government)). Most american christians are conservatives that love to laud the virtues of democracy, but they have no problem with the idea of an american theocracy. Religion and government, especially in the form of democracy, are diametrically opposed to one another. They cannot exist in the same space and remain true to what they each are separately.
On the subject of faith, Hitchens said something like…”what can asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence,” which is pretty much where im at with yall
Hi Jeremy loved this blog. I turned my back on God for 3 years and didn’t believe in Him. I disagree with many verses in the Bible. I always thought that the Bible is the most violent book I have ever read. I don’t read the Bible very often. However, my personal interaction with the Almighty is so wonderful and out of this world that I don’t care about the bible very much. The world of God is so different to ours. I can’t wait to change this life for that one. In the meantime I try to be as nice and friendly to people as I can I help where I can and encourage and guide those in need in Gods name where I can. I normally tell people about my experiences with God and that I can’t agree with a lot of what is written in the Bible anyway because my experience make me disagree.
Thank you for your blogs I enjoy it very much and always look forward to the next.
You are seriously deluded dude, and your brand of sarcasm is very twisted indeed !!!!
Karen Shaver says
I loved the sense of humor. My thought has been that, through the ages and many translations, things were misread and transcribed. Still, some of that probably was correct. None of them is why I became agnostic. My aunt, a Jehovah’s Witness had such strange beliefs (like all Jews were going to hell, didn’t matter how good they were) and she objected to me (being a nurse) telling her I was going to give blood to patients whenever they needed it. After that, I began thinking about it all. Over the years, I studied a lot of science, and finally concluded that one being did just make logical sense. So, I’m agnostic–don’t know if there isn’t–waiting until I die to find out, yet be the best person I can be while on earth.
You’re closer to God than you think you are.
Vaughn Bender says
Hey Jeremy, Great article, I unfortunately agree with your outcome, and I have been encouraged by it. Sounds kind of weird. So many times I have just glossed over examples like this to just try and explain the Goodness of God and hope no one asks about these kinds of things because I would not have an answer. But recently in last 4 to 5 years I just admit .. yes, the bible has these and I have no answer but here is where I am at and just be real about it. I am a realist and see things as they are, I have no problem any more saying .. I just don’t know. But explain God Graciousness in it. And that God loves us as we are, and not as we should be, because we will never be as we should be. And go from there.
Thanks for the article
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, these verses are tricky, and I think that your approach is a good, honest, and loving one. People would rather hear us say, “I don’t know” than some other answers Christians traditionally give. This opens us up to having a conversation with them, while the traditional Christian answers often shuts down any conversation.
Have a conversation with such passages? No thanks! Nor did I become an atheist, though I did eventually leave the Christian fold. C. S. Lewis didn’t seem to want to have a conversation with such passages either, not if it meant having to retain them as holy writ:
CSL To John Beversluis, July 3, 1963 (the year of C. S. Lewis’ death):
“The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘so there’s no God after all,’ but, ‘So this is what God is really like. Deceive yourself no longer.'” Only four months before his death, Lewis wrote in a letter to an American philosopher that there were dangers in judging God by moral standards. However, he maintained that “believing in a God whom we cannot but regard as evil, and then, in mere terrified flattery calling Him ‘good’ and worshipping Him, is still greater danger.”
Lewis was responding specifically to the question of Joshua’s slaughter of the Canaanites by divine decree and Peter’s striking Ananias and Sapphira dead (though one might add the alleged “judgment” of God in 1 Cor. as well, making “many [Christians] ill” and killing some, according to Paul).
Knowing that the evangelical doctrine of the Bible’s infallibility required him to approve of “the atrocities (and treacheries) of Joshua,” Lewis made this surprising concession:
“The ultimate question is whether the doctrine of the goodness of God or that of the inerrancy of Scriptures is to prevail when they conflict. I think the doctrine of the goodness of God is the more certain of the two indeed, only that doctrine renders this worship of Him obligatory or even permissible.” 
“To this some will reply ‘ah, but we are fallen and don’t recognize good when we see it.’ But God Himself does not say that we are as fallen at all that. He constantly, in Scripture, appeals to our conscience: ‘Why do ye not of yourselves judge what is right?’ — ‘What fault hath my people found in me?’ And so on. Socrates’ answer to Euthyphro is used in Christian form by Hooker. Things are not good because God commands them; God commands certain things because he sees them to be good. (In other words, the Divine Will is the obedient servant to the Divine Reason.) The opposite view (Ockham’s, Paley’s) leads to an absurdity. If ‘good’ means ‘what God wills’ then to say ‘God is good’ can mean only ‘God wills what he wills.’ Which is equally true of you or me or Judas or Satan.”
CSL To Dom Bede Griffiths, Dec. 20, 1961:
“Even more disturbing as you say, is the ghastly record of Christian persecution. It had begun in Our Lord’s time – ‘Ye know not what spirit ye are of’ (John of all people!) I think we must fully face the fact that when Christianity does not make a man very much better, it makes him very much worse…Conversion may make of one who was, if no better, no worse than an animal, something like a devil.”
3. C.S. Lewis, A grief Observed (New York: Seabury Press, 1963), pp 9-10.
4. Letter quoted in full in John Beversluis, C.S. Lewis and the Search for Rational Religion (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985), pp. 156 f.
5. Ibid., p. 157. Emphsis added.
6. Cited in ibid., p 157.
7. In the “Gospel of John,” Jesus’ enemies are depicted more than sixty times as simply, “The Jews.” Jesus’ concern for Israel as seen in the Gospel of Matthew (10:5-6 & 15:24) is absent from the Jesus who appears in the Gospel of John (5:45-47 & 8:31-47). The Gospel John, having been written after previous Gospels may reflect the growing breakdown of relations between the early Christian church and the Jewish synagog.
8. The Letters of C. S. Lewis, ed., W. H. Lewis, (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1966), p. 301.
Jeremy Myers says
Wow. Those are excellent quotes by Lewis! Thanks for including them, along with the citations…
Charlie Bucket says
CS Lewis ought to receive an award for outstanding services to Special Pleading and an assortment of other logical fallacies to which he rigorously stuck, long, long past the point where he ought to have known better.
With Religion one has to rely on anecdotal evidence, that kind of evidence would not stand up in today’s court of law, also how many here have been ”indoctrinated” into their particular Religion ??
Randy Simpson says
It is call faith which is called in Hebrews as “…the evidence of things unseen.” A Christian has faith in what God’s perfect truth has revealed to imperfect men who wrote it down. Don’t take scripture out of context on the time it was written. Paul’s admonition to slaves and their masters was not an approval of slavery but only and acceptance of the brutality of the n60,000,000 slaves in the Roman Empire when the Church was a few hundred believers many slaves and some Roman citizens who owned slaves. Paul rightly knew that any disobedience by Christian Slaves would destroy the church. Most critics conveniently forget Paul admonished slave owner to treat their slaves with loving kindness and many freed their Christian brothers.
robert sumners says
Randy, how can things unseen be evidence?? Then you say you have to have ”faith” ?? f’aith is the excuse people give for believing when they don’t have a good reason. If you have good reasons faith is superfluous.
Why would you believe anything on faith? Faith isn’t a pathway to truth. Every religion has some sort of faith, people take things on, you know, – if faith is your pathway, you can’t distinguish between Christianity, Hinduism, Judaism, any of these others. How is it that you use reason as a path to truth in every endeavor of your life, and then when it comes to the ‘ultimate truth’ – the most important truth – you’re saying that faith is required. And how does that reflect on a god (who supposedly exists and wants you to have this information); what kind of god requires faith instead of evidence? … I have reasonable expectations based on evidence. I have trust that has been earned. I will grant trust tentatively. I don’t have faith. Faith is the excuse people give for believing something when they don’t have evidence.
AWW HELL NO!!! YOU’VE ACTUALLY TALKED YOURSELF INTO ACCEPTING THAT OWNERSHIP OF ANOTHER HUMAN BEING IS ACCEPTABLE NEVER! EVER! NO! FUCK NO!! EXODUS 21 IS WHAT’S UP. ITS 2019, GAMES OVER, B&G!!!
these verses are not tricky , the answer for all these is very simple , the people in the old testament put themselves under the law , they didn’t want to approach God , and that was the law . All the verses except two verses were under the law. The other two are : one in new testament first 1 Peter 2:18 , this verse for witnessing purpose read the whole book of peter , then read chapter 2 , the words for believers to cleanse themselves for they are chosen , it leads to witnessing , so if you are in a situation as slave keep witnessing , if God tells you to get out then you get out , if God tells you to stay as slave to witness then you stay (new testament spirit is : we don’t live for ourselves we live for the Lord). The other verse from Genesis 19:18 , this was before the law and it shows the sin of the fathers , the bible doesn’t show us the good fathers and good behavior of people only , the bible because it is the word of God show us all kinds of the heart of people the evil and good one , one woman ate her child in the bible , one man burnt his son for a promise he did , these were not commanded by God , these are done because people’s heart are sinful . Lot was influenced by people around him , he chose this area , read the previous chapters where he saw the area was beautiful . So all these verses have a reason , I advise when you study the bible take in your consideration there are 7 covenants and 7 dispensations and 7 ages , it makes all these verses not tricky
Jeremy Myers says
Well, yes, maybe. But the church has often done a poor job explaining these verses, or even allowing people to question their meaning. It is this refusal to allow questions which is the real culprit behind many people abandoning the “God” that many churches talk about.
thanks for your reply , now you and me , others is the church , so lets keep answering these questions , what you are doing in this blog is great allowing people to ask all these questions . My second note for our discussion here which I was waiting for someone to ask , Why did God give them this kind of law which looks hard and tough , God only gives good thing , then the law is good thing (but in our time now we see the law hard) ?? The answer the law by itself is a good thing but it bases only on justice , eye by eye tooth by tooth etc , has no grace , so God wants to show and teach people if human wants only one thing from God (justice) it will not be enough , and no one can fulfill this law . Only when on the cross :
Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other .
I apologize English is not my first language , but please if there is any issue not clear let me know , and again thank you so much for opening such discussions to teach and let us grow in the grace of God.
jacob C Stettnichs says
how can you say that you are disgusted with Him? He is your Creator and in every instance of what has taken place, there is an answer and perfection behind it
I know I’m vastly late to this conversation, but your entire post is a scapegoat. I’ve seen many a christian theist and apologist use this same exact tact. God didn’t write the bad parts of the bible, but he did inspire the good parts.
You honestly cannot have it both ways.
Let’s simply look at the Book of Job, because it’s not a book about the evils of man or man’s misunderstanding (Job is the most pious person around). No, it’s a book about god making a wager with “satan”. Here’s an example of god, not man, actually destroying Job’s entire family and life.
*Allow that to sink in, god killed Job’s entire family….innocent people….in order to prove a point*.
How exactly do you reconcile that book with your above post? As I stated, I’m very late to this thread and don’t expect a reply, but it’s food for thought for any future visitors here.
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, Job is a difficult book. I am disgusted with that type of God as well. Thankfully, there are alternative ways of reading that book, but the explanations is too long and involved for a blog comments. I am working on a book about this topic though…
Joshua Cherry says
One major problem with the doctrine of dispensationalism is that this indicates yet another of Yahweh’s unending failures: the failure to create beings capable of understanding him. This entity supposedly creates humans out of some bizarre desire for a relationship, yet creates them incapable of having sufficient understanding of him to enable such a relationship. If Yahweh needs to continuously update the doctrines and ordinances given to us, then that indicates he did not do it right the first time, and given the track record from the creation myth to the present, it shouldn’t be surprising that this is the case, because everything this deity attempts in the bible inevitably backfires spectacularly.
Take the story of Eden. right off the bat, you have this supposedly perfect entity coming up with a perfect plan to create imperfect beings, seeming dumbfounded by their failure to act perfectly. He creates two fallible beings, without any understanding of right or wrong, and places before them a test in the form of a tree capable of granting the knowledge of good and evil they must already have in order to pass this test. Lacking this knowledge, they are doomed to failure. Thus Yahweh places two incompetent beings into a situation where they cannot do anything other than fail, and when they do exactly what this entity created them to do, they and all of their descendants are punished forever for what must be Yahweh’s own failure (either he somehow did not realize they would act imperfectly, in which case this being is incompetent and at fault, or he knew this would happen and wanted to be the child lighting ants in fire with a magnifying glass).
Phil Adams says
You sort of miss the point. They didn’t fail because they weren’t capable of knowing if they should eat or the tree they failed because they disobeyed God, who told them quite clearly not to eat of the tree
But, Phil, you missed HIS point. Of course the humans failed this test. Have you seen us? We are sort of awful. Even putting that aside, we are terribly inquisitive against better judgement. Dangle something like that fruit in front of a human, indefinitely, and that human will almost certainly screw up!
The point is that if God made us that way, he is either a failure, or an intentional tormentor.
He made pretty poor companions and never could keep them in line. Even after he tried to reboot the human race after flood murdering all but a single family, couldn’t keep things on track. Couldn’t or wouldn’t grant humans the capability to understand, so that we end up with a load of different squabbling versions of the same religion!
Yuri Wijting says
There’s quite a few ways to approach it. Ironically whichever explanation you choose, whether it’s Enns or Piper, your level of comfort dictates what you’re willing to accept. Can I accept the possibility that God might have a violent side? What am I unwilling to accept?
Jeremy Myers says
I cannot accept that God has a violent side, not because I do not want Him to have one (I do want it!), but because Jesus never revealed such a side during His life or on the cross, and Jesus is the perfect revelation of God.
To Jeremy : what about Matthew 23? What about all the times Jesus mentions hell?
Jeremy Myers says
What about them? I am not sure what you are asking. These also are texts which have been misappropriated by some religious people to “scare” others. I accept and interpret them in their historical, grammatical, and cultural contexts, but almost guarantee that my understanding of these texts is different from yours.
Sam Riviera says
I’m curious about how you understand “hell”, especially since Jesus appears to be saying that is the fate of the religious leaders. He seems to be calling them murderers. Is he looking ahead to their role in his death?
I think this response creates 100x more atheists than the ones you find so distasteful(not to mention you set the ‘conservative’ christian responses up as straw men, either you are not aware of many of the historical contexts of ancient Israel, or you intentionally omit them). It makes the Bible non-falsifiable. If we say the Bible is unreliable in matters we can confirm(History) why on earth would we have any reason to believe it where we can’t confirm it(‘spiritual’ verses, it’s picture of the way Jesus was).
There are dozens of things that could be mentioned that give these verses more context and shed them in a different light, but beyond that I don’t think it’s a reasonable expectation that we would have ALL answers to EVERYTHING. Most of the documents weren’t written to us, they were written to someone else, and the things that were painfully obvious to them aren’t going to mentioned in the text. We shouldn’t expect everything from documents written millennia ago to be 100% crystal clear.
Beyond that you seem to mock the view that: God is omniscient, I am not, therefore there will sometimes be things I don’t understand and in that moment I must have faith rather than say I, with finite knowledge should have faith in my own judgement over the judgement of an omniscient, omnipresent entity. That is completely logical and anyone that is honest and logical…..may not agree, but they won’t mock the viewpoint as you did here.
Yuri Wijting says
I understand Jeremy. Some might construe Jesus making a whip to drive out money changers as somewhat violent. Jesus does mention slaying his enemies, although that’s metaphorical. Just a few to mention. I, this is me, accept that Jesus may be very different from what I imagine him to be. That goes for his mercy as well as his fury.
dennis miller says
the last time I read through the Bible the passages in Samuel through Kings of what seemed like slaughter of city after city. These forays were usually explained as either being provoked or blessed by God yet the battles sounded more like driven by hatred and/or greed. I can always explain that just because the Bible tells history does not mean that every deed was condoned by God. But I have a hard time explaining away all of the atrocities that are accredited to God. All I can say is that the people were deluded into thinking such was the case and the “inspired authors” writing it all down were also deluded. But such is not a very comforting explanation.
It is impossible to understand much of what is happening in the Old Testament without the context being informed by these verses:
2 Peter 2:4
Jude verse 6
Deuteronomy 32:8(gotta use ESV here as it’s based on better manuscripts)
The ‘sons of god’ in Genesis 6 and Deuteronomy 32:8, in Hebrew it’s ‘bene elohim’ and refers to angels, not humans.
Jeremy Myers says
That is not a very comforting answer, but in my opinion, is better than saying that God wanted to kill all those people, and commanded the Israelites to carry it out…
Scott C. says
All of these points you bring up and explained if you did actual study where you heard/read important Biblical scholars/pastors discuss this.
For the wiping-out-of-city part, you obviously have no clue about the Nephilim, which were fallen angel/human hybrids that Satan’s 1/3 of all Heaven’s angels created…why did they mess with the genetics of humanity? To pollute the bloodline of Adam, to make humanity an abomination that couldn’t possibly be saved.
One of the major reasons why the flood happened was that these Nephilim were everywhere and all sorts of other hybrids were likely created (you have to remember, Angels — even fallen ones — are far smarter than humans and know all about science), which potentially explains weird stories of creatures like minotaurs and centaurs in ancient stories.
Also, when Noah loaded up his family, his sons’ wives came along as well – and it’s assumed one or more of them had traces of the Nephilim bloodline within them. That’s why, hundreds of years later, David had to face Goliath — the gigantic humanoid that towered over everyone else. Him, along with his brothers, were all from the Nephilim bloodline.
And so were the inhabitants of the cities God ordered to be completely wiped out. If every “person” there wasn’t eradicated, the Nephilim issues would increase at an uncontrollable rate, just like before the flood.
This isn’t made up. It’s literally in the Bible.
I would suggest you watch things by teachers like Dr. Missler regarding this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0d3l2FEVmsk
I think the third approach is a cop out. Because you say that God is condemning such a behaviour when in fact the scripture is promoting it. In this verses God orders such vulgar things. I mean come on. Did god say those things to not be followed?
In my view you have to make the decision about what the bible is. God’s everlasting inerrant word (then you are dammed with option one). Or an account of the people of God who wrote down their experiences with and their knowledge of that God which they held at this time and which became fuller as the time and the knowledge went on. I chose the later. And this dosen’t mean I don’t belive that the bible is inspired by the holy spirit. It is. But not in a “God says it that settles it” kind of way, but through real fallible human beings. We are all on a journey and so is the bible.
I agree with this – the bible is written in such a way as to be clearly promoting (even commanding) genocide, slavery, xenophobia, misogyny, etc. to turn it around and say we’re supposed to read this in the opposite way than it’s obvious intention just so we can keep the bible divinely inspired in that specific way is unnecessary and seems sort of disingenuous.
The bible has about 40 authors, and is comprised of 66 documents. To assume that all authors had the exact same monolithic intent on all these issues is an oversimplification. It was also written in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. The English translation is itself an interpretation. Furthermore, inerrancy can only be argued for the autographs, non of which still exist. To take all of this into consideration and to posit that it ‘obviously’ promotes genocide, slavery, xenophobia, and slavery……
Well, fair enough, “obvious intention” wasn’t the best choice of words – what I meant to express was that the plethora of OT authors did not appear to be in on the joke that God wanted to tell future readers the exact opposite of what they were saying. It seems fair to say that all of the OT authors sincerely believed that God commanded what we now see as atrocities (which they ascribed to God’s holiness). For us to say, through the lens of history, that they were incorrect is one thing (of which I believe), but to imply that intention of the writings was to express the moral bankruptcy of those beliefs seems like a difficult to defend stretch. Is it wrong to say that the writers “obviously” believed that what they wrote about God’s will was an accurate depiction of Him?
Darren, we’d need to look at this on a case by case basis. But in general, SOME events would fall under historical narrative. These things happened, some of them being very bad and God did not approve of. OTHER events, which look pretty bad out of context, make more sense in context. Israel was a theocracy, and God commanded them to do certain things as His agents carrying out His decrees. They were certain that God commanded these things because the messages were given by prophets that predicted future events before they happened. Plus they saw certain miraculous signs like the parting of the sea of reeds, chariots in the sky, and many other things. Now, to say some of the judgements are harsh is an understatement, BUT, if you can accept the concept of a just war, i.e., fighting and killing some of the Nazi’s a necessary act of love to rescue the Jews from the concentration camps, you’re halfway to understanding some of these ‘problem’ passages. Some of these groups that were wiped out engaged in unthinkable barbarous acts, including human sacrifice. The other half in understanding the context is in depth study of these passages:
2 Peter 2:4
Jude verse 6
Deuteronomy 32:8(gotta use ESV here as it’s based on better manuscripts)
and studying them in the context of other ancient Near Eastern texts that elaborate on what happened in these verses.
(In reply to Dave)
“Now, to say some of the judgements are harsh is an understatement, BUT, if you can accept the concept of a just war, i.e., fighting and killing some of the Nazi’s a necessary act of love to rescue the Jews from the concentration camps, you’re halfway to understanding some of these ‘problem’ passages. ”
I don’t accept the concept of a just war, so perhaps that explains part of why we disagree. I don’t subscribe to the idea of violence in God’s name any more than the thought of overcoming hate with more hate. Violence, IMO, is akin to hate, and counter-gospel.
Jeremy Myers says
I pretty much agree with your conclusions. Thanks for clarifying how you understand the text. It is good to know there are likeminded people out there!
Michael Flud says
I am currently reading a book called, “Is God A Moral Monster?” by Paul Copan. This book goes into these exact issues in detail. Part of the problem is the translation we have. For instance, in the issue of 2 men fighting and the wife of one grabs the others privates, Copan says the translation that says to cut her hand off isn’t right. But rather that she should have her privates shaved. And he deals with slavery, treatment of women and when God says to go kill all the Amalekites, etc. I am finding it very enlightening as I have wondered about these difficult verses myself.
Jeremy Myers says
yes, that is a good and helpful book. I read it about 5 years ago or so.
I feel like I’m somewhere in between response #2 and #3 – I’ll be interested to hear a further development of the concept in #3, but my first reaction is that that explanation wouldn’t hold a lot of water with anyone who didn’t really want it to be the answer. Is that explanation of why God inspired the bible to be written that way apparent by reading it or more just by wanting it to be so because we don’t want to give up on an “inspired” bible? The people in the stories did terrible things and attributed their actions to following God’s will rather than their own fear and selfishness, this is error, obviously, but I find it to be too much of a stretch to believe that the stories were included in the canon with anything like that in mind. God’s plans are higher and all that, I know – but that stuff doesn’t convince any atheists (nor progressive Christians) that the bible is inspired in that way. The OT is a true telling of the Israelites and what they did and believed throughout history, but the attribution of evil acts to God’s will was and still is in error.
Jeremy Myers says
I hope to write more about #3 in the future… but my view is similar to yours. The OT is good history, and good revelation, but not necessarily a revelation “about God,” but rather about what is in the hearts of humanity.
Some have said that the verses about slaves and women in the OT were quite liberal by the standards of the day. Still makes for awkward reading.
The quote from 1 Peter is interesting when compared to 1 Corinthians, where Paul instructs slaves to get their freedom if they have the chance. Maybe the message is “Make a run for it while your master is sleeping, but don’t stab him to death before you do.”
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, that is actually true. These commands gave more value to women, children, slaves, and foreigners. But still, they are “inferior” to the understanding in New Testament times, (or even today), which means there is some sort of progression in Scripture.
Tony C says
The problem with having your balls crushed is that God can’t stand men with high voices 😉
Leviticus and Deuteronomy are bloody awful books. If they weren’t part of the Bible, nobody would ever give them a second’s thought or a moment’s credence. And I say that as a Christian, too.
I think they were included in the canon because they show us the sort of god people used to believe in before Jesus came to show us what He’s really like.
Jeremy Myers says
Ha ha! I love this comment. Insightful and humorous. Thanks!
Tony C says
The Psalm 137 story is simply that of raw emotion. The author is pretty mightily pissed about his enemies, and he’s asking God to do ’em all in. He’s saying, like, ‘Wish I could smash up all their kids for them!!’ It’s yet another example of how the Bible shows human frailty in all its forms, from denying Christ in the case of Peter, to Pilate washing his hands of an innocent man’s blood, to burning kids in the furnace as a sacrifice to Molech or whatever. Actually God makes it pretty clear, even in the OT, that he doesn’t like child sacrifice. But yes, the Bible was written by real people who sometimes got mad and wrote it down, then credited it to God. This is why we should not obey it blindly like a book of Rules, else each Church service would have Hymn, prayer, Hymn, Collection, Hymn, Kid Smashing Time, Hymn, Sermon, Hymn, Blessing, Home.
This is a great article though, Jeremy. As are all the ones from your stable.
Jeremy Myers says
Kid Smashing time! We have children’s church instead now…. which is not following the Bible! Ha! Again, great, great comment. Thanks!
Sam Riviera says
In discussing inspiration and inerrancy with a variety of people and groups who self-identify as Christian I’ve noticed that their definitions and understandings of those terms vary. The most conservative people and groups often subscribe to what amounts to the dictation theory, the idea that every word, every letter, every comma was dictated by God, and the person who wrote it down was basically a writing instrument.
In my opinion, such an approach is trying to force a construct on those writings that were never intended by the original writers. In addition, we have no original manuscripts. The mss we do have vary. Most of us rely on translations, which vary widely. Even if we rely on mss in the original languages, how can we be sure the mss we rely upon is true to the original?
There are advantages to the idea that every detail is exactly what God said. Add in our understanding/interpretation of what “God said”. Then we suppose we have an airtight case for everything we believe about almost any and every issue, as in “God said it, I believe it.” Most of us, however, wonder if that is exactly what God said or if it’s what someone or some group with their own agenda says, a group that tries to back up what they believe with “the word of God”, which they suppose is irrefutable (almost always it is their interpretation which they are trying to propose as irrefutable).
I personally choose to accept that the original writers wrote what they believed was true, be it historical event, “interpretation” of those events (as in God decreed destruction of enemies) or even practice and doctrine. What they wrote was reflective of their cultures and times. We must each decide what that means for us today. Does the Bible “approve” of slavery? Are all races “equal”? Are men and women “equal”? Are there situations where we should allow men to rape our daughters? Is God really violent? Will God condemn most of the human race to an eternity in a lake of burning fire? Are natural disasters God’s punishment to a specific group of people for specific transgressions? Should I “judge” you if you do not believe and live according to what I believe the Bible says?
myth buster says
Hell exists, and is not empty, nor is it only populated by demons. We may licitly hope that the majority of the human race shall be saved, though the human experience gives us little reason to hold out such hope, but that some humans will go to Hell, and that the flames of Hell torment for eternity without relief is something every Christian must believe. He who denies the existence of Hell will learn first hand of its reality and eternity.
The cold hard truth is still the entire world would have and still would be better off with out religion, religions including christianity have killed more people than cancer and we try to cure cancer.
Paul Swilley says
I read youarticle and i have to say if any part of the bible makes Christians turn into atheists then they never were believers in the first place and there was more suggstion i would to help nonbelievers PUT THE BIBLE IN CONTEXT AND REALIZE THE BIBLE WAS WAS WRITTEN FOR US AND NOT TO US
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, context is extremely important, but not even context can soften all these texts.
Jeremy, in my humble opinion, yes, context softens all of these verse, and yes, makes them perfect. Unfortunately context has been SO incredibly divorced from hermeneutics for so long that sometimes the full context has been lost, and is no longer known to us. Sometimes it is largely ignored and unknown to most because the majority of churches are aggressively anti-knowledge, so opposed to anyone that goes beyond cliches or ethics, that any attempts to preserve proper hermeneutics are snuffed out. It would take quite some time to deal with all of these fully, a simple post wouldn’t suffice, BUT a good starting point is, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Every person has sinned and worthy of damnation, it is only by God’s grace and mercy that any of us are not destroyed. God could have chosen to not send his Son to redeem us, and then subsequently allotted all of us to destruction, and he would still be a perfect, loving God. We all are worthy of death. Praise God that He has mercy on any of us. I don’t have all the answers. None of us do, christians or non-christians. I do have some answers. The first is to realize that the Bible is not 1 book. It’s a collections of 66 documents, different types of documents written over millennia. Written to different people with different contexts(letters written to people, historical narrative, laws concerning Israel, etc.). You take them one by one.
Bingo! We have a winner!
Tony C says
“THE BIBLE WAS WAS WRITTEN FOR US AND NOT TO US” – I like that. Well said (except for the caps, of course 😉 )
The bible was written to control the masses and make money. The devil was invented so people had someone to blame besides themselves and if god or jesus talks to you please stay on your meds and keep it to your self. The rest of us with a brain don’t want to hear about your cult.
Matthew Richardson says
The scripture is ‘inspired’ by God. This does not mean that all events or rules in scripture are.(1). Job’s actions where made according to his own faulty thinking. Offering up his daughters was not a commandment of God. (2). Jesus Himself, in reference to divorce, made it clear that Moses made many compromises in the Law in order to deal with an arrogant and unruly people. (3). 2 Peter does not promote or condemn slavery but only promotes that which is commanded of all Godly people, that we should submit to authority. The word ‘submit’ does not mean condone or aprove of, it means only to not act against. (4). The scripture contains many verses where bad things happen that seem to be God’s judgment. But many of these do not explicitely state that the events are, in fact, His doing. Maybe they are, maybe they aren’t. It is wrong to assume one or the other. (5). The book of Psalms is a collection of poetry (songs) written by fallible men. It would be wrong to assume that every staement or word reflects God’s will.
Jeremy Myers says
These are good distinctions as well, and people are wise to remember these sorts of ideas when they read the Bible. Thanks!
It’s problematic for me that the Psalms can be filled with errors because they were written by fallible men. If that’s the case, why are they in the canon? At any point an author of a biblical document could be ‘waxing poetic’ and making incorrect statements. Then we’re certain of nothing in scripture. Men being emotional and making all kinds of incorrect statements doesn’t like something upon which God would set his seal.
Matthew Richardson says
Just giving my 2 pesos worth. 😉
Thank you so much for talking about a topic that is never brought up! I know it is a very serious subject but, I have to say, you made me laugh several times. As a Christian, I have tried to read the Bible from start to finish but struggled to get through the Old Testament and ended up skipping parts. It was just too depressing and made me feel that I don’t know God at all. It was so violent and filled with horrible things like what you just wrote about. Lot was always a big question for me because he is the GOOD person in town of S & G that gets saved (he and his family) from the total destruction. So, the GOOD person of the town was willing to turn his daughters over to the mob to be gang raped? That never made sense to me. All I can figure is that the other people must have been really horrible.
Whenever a new believer tells me they want to read the Bible, I usually suggest they start with the New Testament or recommend some of the more positive books in the O.T. I am actually afraid they might change their mind or have doubts when they read Leviticus and Deuteronomy!
Anyway, thank you for writing about it. I’m glad to know I’m not the only Christian that questioned those passages. I also enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. There was some good insight.
Suzanne from Belfast says
I totally agree with you Donna. I also point people to the New Testament because I am afraid that when they read the Old Testament, they will think less of God. There are mature Christians in my ‘house group’ who never go near the OT because they are scared of what they might read (except Psalms, Proverbs etc). Jeremy’s posts help so much when discussing these issues. Thank you Jeremy.
Jeremy Myers says
Thanks for the comment. It is a serious subject, but hopefully we can be open to discussing it frankly with other people, and especially with people who have rejected God, Scripture, and Jesus because of verses like these.
Your recommendation for people to start reading the NT is a good one, especially with one of the Gospels.
Eh, let them read it. Bring the Old Testament to North Korea, if you’re foolhardy enough to take the risk. Don’t pretend it’s all sunshine and roses because it’s not.
I’m plowing through the Bible, front to back and it’s the dumbest thing. It’s not great literature and it’s almost meaningless without apologists explaining it and guess what’s wrong with relying on apologists? You got it. It’s subject to whatever crazy interpretation that particular apologist has, especially if it’s one that thinks Jesus is seen in the OT.
“But I think it is also time to admit that while many people decided to follow Jesus as a result of reading the Bible, there are many others who turned away from God after reading the Bible.”
There’s a fundamental difference between these two groups — one is rebellious, the other follows in faith, knowing he will eventually learn all things. Now we see dimly; there will come the time when we see clearly.
God is very simple. God is love, God is truth, God is light, God is spirit and must be worshipped in spirit (John 4:24)
the disciples had very little understanding when they began their mission with Jesus; and it took at least three years before they really grasped the essence of the message.
But they stayed with it. Matthew informs us: “But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved.” (24:13)
God would have it that none should perish; but many will not accept Christianity, no matter what any one says. The bottom line is that only God can make the seed of the gospel grow within the hearts. (1 Corinthians 3:6-9)
Jeremy Myers says
Is it really rebellious, or is it based on bad teaching they have heard from Christians about what these terrible texts mean? If the latter, then their turning away from such bad teaching is not actually rebellious, but an act of worship to the God who really IS.
I have lost count of the people who have walked away from good teaching. If a minister causes someone to stumble, he will pay the price. However, will the person who has been led astray be able to use that as an excuse for not accepting Jesus into his life? No. In every country in the world people have numerous looks at the truth — one way or the other — especially in highly developed countries.
Can bad teaching be the cause of the utter mess that exists in the US, for example? I have come across many people who left their church because of bad teaching, and found some place more suitable.
Heather Goodman says
It’s only extremely recently that human society came to regard all violence as unacceptable. For most of human history, the violence in the Bible would not have seemed at all unusual or immoral.
Mark Burgher says
When Jesus was asked about divorce He asked them ‘what does their Law say’. Then He said, amazingly, that ‘Out of the hardness of their hearts Moses wrote this precept’. As the Jews were only asking about divorce I’ve always wondered for what else would Jesus answer the same, where the lawmakers effectively watered down and (or) made harsh precepts to ensure the Ideals (the ten commandments) were abided by.
The precepts were there to make the people stick to the Ideals but it failed in many ways as it took into account customs that the people held on to.
Paula Cross says
When I first came to the Lord and discovered these realities of the Bible, I was very perplexed. Somehow, I knew God was sovereign and that there was a logical explanation but I couldn’t understand things like why God would tell the Israelites to kill entire nations (including the women and children) or why Achan’s entire family had to be put to death for what Achan secretly did, etc. But by faith, I trusted… somehow, despite how it all hurt me so deeply, somehow it had to be just. Because God is…God.
As the years passed, the confusion lingered but I’ll tell you what… I’ve been a Christian for 27 years now and as I’ve gotten closer to His Majesty, I’m actually starting to get it. I can try to explain here, but if you’re only able to see from an earthly perspective, I doubt it will amount to a hill of beans. If I’d have told myself this 20 years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to digest it.
At any rate, I’ll share what I’ve come to (and it doesn’t fit into any of the 3 explanations disclosed in the article). So, here goes:
God knows the end of the story. The end of the story is He will have a huge family in Heaven who, with Him, will only ever experience joy, peace, wonder, glory and splendor for all eternity. God, being the one who created all this, created the earth to be the vehicle where it would be established which of the humans He created would actually want Him and want an eternal life with Him. Sin, pride and rebellion, which won’t be in Heaven, verses obedience, humility and submission, would be the heart conditions that lead people to either receive redemption through Christ… or not. Everyone is a sinner. But sinners who aspire God’s heart end up saved through Christ’s death. Sinners who want God of their own free will also want to go the way of obedience, humility and submission. This is the bottom line of why God created earth. So that people can choose Him…or not. Earth is where people demonstrate their will. Ultimately, if their will is for God, they get to be with God eternally. If not, then not.
Since this is the case, God doesn’t view things like we do. Oh… He values life and love – as He is the Author of these. BUT – God knows that life is beyond “earth” life, it’s an eternal thing. So, God isn’t shaken by earth death. Remember, earth is just where one’s eternal life is determined. What is most important to God is that one chooses righteousness so that their REAL life that’s eternal will be secured in Him.
If God wanted a family, why didn’t He just make one that He knew would want Him and His righteousness and cut the earth/sin part out of the deal and eliminate all this suffering? The answer is if God just made people who all automatically wanted Him, then they can’t choose Him for Himself. Who wants to program anyone to love them? Don’t we want to be loved by THEIR choosing? So does God.
So, life on this earth is not the priority to God. Choosing to make Him your eternal Papa is His vision.
Next, we often don’t understand that, for example, it’s more than the horror of taking a life that’s the issue. With God, the issue is one’s rebellion. You see, you can be rebellious in treacherous ways or in subtle ways. This is difficult to explain. The bottom line is one’s heart. Are they running the show or are they aware and care that God’s in charge at heart level? Regardless if it’s about wanting to beat someone up or taking a job that God says not to take. When the heart is not in a state of humble submission to their maker, this is rebellion. Even if the person doesn’t do mean things or kill or steal even. They can still be in rebellion if they are not humble enough to love God above everything in this world and say “I don’t understand You God, but You made this world, You made me and I’m breathing right now because You make it possible… so YOU DA BOSS.” If this isn’t one’s heart attitude, this is pride and rebellion. Because who should dare act like they are their own boss? Did they make the world? Did they make themselves? Are their eyes seeing because they designed and opened them? Are their ears hearing because of their own great skill? Did they make themselves intelligent and talented with abilities that enable them to perform duties? Are they somehow responsible for the very breath they are able to breath right this moment? No. So… Who dare presumes Lordship over themselves?
With this understanding, you can see that all sin is birthed out of some level of rebellion. And the fact is we are all rebellious. But, when one recognizes this, if they are disturbed or shaken, then this is repentance and leads them to righteousness through Christ.
So… That’s why God had entire nations killed or Achan’s entire family. God teaches all through the Bible that corruption spreads like wild fire. A little yeast effects the whole batch. These Old Testament regulations were made to demonstrate the Holiness, no wickedness tolerance policies of God. God longs for us to choose Holiness on our own. But He is Just. He is Just. He is Just. He will not tolerate wickedness. So He desperately wants us to recognize that it’s not in our favor to be WICKED. So that we’ll get to be with Him.
What about what Lot did in offering his daughters? I used to be mortified by this… but now I see it as though I was in Lot’s head. He did not WANT this to happen to his daughters. But He had such profound reverence for the presence of God’s Holy servants that He would have killed a thousand people to protect them. You have to understand – He was face to face with hosts from GLORY. He knew that this life was a drop in the bucket. His reaction was out of deep reverence for the angels and desperation to not have the wickedness put against the holy ones while under his watch. This is difficult for us to digest because we can’t imagine having such intense esteem for anyone over our own children/daughters. This is understandable. But it happens. When you love God more, this is the right thing. Just like when Abraham was about to slay Isaac, the son he waited and longed for for years. He loved and trusted God so much he was willing to do it. This is difficult to comprehend because you have to love and trust God that much to understand.
As for slavery, the Bible does not promote slavery but it does say it is okay. Why? Again, what’s God’s perspective? God’s perspective is that this earth life is temporary AND submission is the greatest thing. The fact is, even masters ARE NOT THERE OWN if they submit to God. The fact is we are all slaves by default of being born on earth.Whether we are slaves of God… slaves of sin… slaves of money… slaves of addiction. We’re all slaves serving some type of master somewhere, somehow. But even more than that, God owns us. We breathe because He says so. Period. He’s in charge. End of story. So, how could he ban slavery if slavery is inherently a part of who we are? He even allowed His own people to be enslaved as a result of their continual sin. What does this tell us? Slavery under other men isn’t preferential nor does He endorse it. That it’s an unpleasant to have a master, especially if that master is evil! If you read the whole bible, you can conclude that for yourself. So, since slavery was an aspect of the human race, God made rules. And you need to read “all” of the rules to get a proper grip.
As for beating the slaves nearly to death and it being okay, that’s hardly what was meant. If you read verses that soon follow (Ex 21:26-27) where it talks about if the master hurts the slaves eye and causes it to go blind or knocks out a tooth, the master must let the slaves go free, you see that it wasn’t that masters were allowed to treat their slaves poorly. Do I personally approve of “beating” slaves at all? No. But again, back then, we have to understand that disobedience was not tolerated and disobedience was the reason for it. I’m sure if there was a master who abused their position by abusing his servant that he did end up answering for it.
Children were stoned to death for defiance. This is still so hard for me to comprehend yet I understand better now. God was showing SIN BRINGS DESTRUCTION (ultimately, eternal damnation). Knowing things were so profoundly strict, I guarantee you nobody’s kid ever defied their parents. Back then if those kids were told they’d be stoned for defiance, those children would not dare step out of line because they knew they’d do it! It’s extreme to us because we didn’t live back then plus we aren’t operating in the same perspective as God where what He sees is that sin/pride/rebellion are the stench that will keep us from being with Him forever. From where He’s sitting, He’s doing all He can to demonstrate what it takes to be with Him where only Holiness presides. We are so busy esteeming “life on earth” instead of our eternal hope that we are mortified at how easy it is for God to show His no tolerance policy for sin. Meanwhile, He WANTED US SO MUCH that He made a way to satiate His own “no sin tolerance” policy by sending His own, Holy Son Who was with Him from the beginning of time… to act like a regular human and let the world kill His Majesty in order to pay the penalty for sin… for all. Yes, God even killed His own Son to accomplish gaining a family. This puts the entire bible into perspective.
Back to the slavery thing, the Bible ALSO tells masters to do right by their slaves. Ephesians 6:9 “And masters, treat your slaves in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with him.” So, the verse mentioned in the article doesn’t stand by itself. One sentence is not always conclusive. You have to look at the entire Word of God. And the entire picture is A) We are all slaves anyway, B) We should all have a submitted, humble, slave mentality for the Lord, and C) Slave or Free, it’s only temporary. How we behave either as a slave or a free person will determine our place in eternity; our rewards or judgments. The bible says if you want to be made great by the Lord (in eternity) you have to be a servant of all. The bible also says those who were last on earth will be first in Heaven and those who are first on earth will be LAST in Heaven. ~Seems to me it’s better to be a slave on earth, wouldn’t you say? 80 years on earth is NOTHING compared to thousands times ten thousands of years in eternity. Slave masters… If you make it to Heaven, looks like you’ll have an eternity to spend being last. Just saying.
The verse disclosed in the article, 1 Peter 2:18 “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh” isn’t suggesting anything peculiar when you see that other scriptures command everyone to be submissive, to turn the other cheak, to forgive everyone, to do all work as unto the Lord, to be wise and diligent stewards, to give your cloak if someone takes your tunic, etc. Though it feels better to be the the boss, the bible wants us to understand our position (employer vs employee, master vs slave) isn’t what matters most . What matters is humility, servitude, forbearance, forgiveness, kindness, love no matter WHAT your position. “With all fear” means with reverence and humility even when someone doesn’t deserve it. Because being reverent to them isn’t for their benefit, but for YOURS. It’s to be sure to keep your heart in check; humble and decent even in the face of adversity. It’s not meaning you won’t be upset or hurt or even angry. It simply means remain reverent for your soul’s sake. But this truth is only appreciated if you have the Spirit of God to make the entire bible make sense to you.
About the people with defects not allowing behind the inner curtain… Again, seriously… Read the WHOLE bible. The High Priest was a very sacred position who could die in there if there was any guilt on him. You’ve got to understand, this was a devout calling. The High Priest had to wear a rope around his ankle to go in there to make the annual offering in case he had his own sin and died. NOBODY was allowed to go in to even get him. They had to pull the body out. This was how serious it was. AND the whole emphasis on the High Priest represented the SPOTLESS One Who would one day become the ETERNAL High Priest, Jesus Christ. Just as the animals that were offered had to be spotless and without blemish as a way of showing honor to God, the High Priest had to demonstrate being without blemish. This was strictly about the one appointed to this frightening call as High Priest. That’s all. Not even .00000001 % of the population would qualify for this position. Being a dwarf was simply one of the many disqualifying factors. Again… One must understand the whole bible to realize this passage is not offensive.
You truly have to know the whole bible before inferring anything!
Like the baby bashing against the rocks… It was conveniently left out that it was referring to what their enemies did to them and was simply saying they were so hurt by the enemy that they’ll be happy when they are destroyed. “O Babylon, you will be destroyed. Happy is the one who pays you back for what you have done to us. 9 Happy is the one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks!” This is NOT saying everyone is happy smashing babies against the rocks. It’s saying the ones who takes this vengeance will be happy but it’s not saying it’s right or good that they will be happy killing babies. It’s no different than if you butchered your friend’s entire family to death while your friend was away on business and I said to you, “Well, dude, happy is the one (your friend) who will take vengeance on you by smashing your children’s heads into rocks when he finds out what you’ve done!” See, I’m not saying smashing babies into rocks is good. I’m saying that’s how angry the one you victimized is! But you have to read the entire passage to understand that.
And so on and so forth. Like I said, it’s tough seeing these things in the bible. It is truly difficult to digest. It certainly was for me. I’m so thankful I didn’t live back then and potentially had to face stoning my own child for defiance! They’d have had to stone me first. But, I get it. God is Holy. And God doesn’t look at things from an earthly perspective. There is no error in the bible. It’s God inspired and every word (prior to faulty translations!) of the original language said exactly what God wanted it to. Jesus is perfect and the bible says Jesus is the Word. So, the Word is perfect. Period. We just need to look at things from God’s SOVEREIGN, HOLY perspective. Amen.
Jeremy Myers says
This is a very long comment.
I invite you to try your explanations on any person who has rejected God, Scripture, or Christianity because of such verses. I believe that not a single one of them will accept such explanations as helpful.
The REAL point of this post was that people reject God, and Scripture, and Christianity because we tend to not listen to others or their concerns, but instead, come across as having all the answers. It is not really answers that people are looking for, but acknowledgement that we hear their concerns, and we are uncomfortable with such texts as well.
Her very long comment actually helped me tremendously.
myth buster says
Let him who has ears, hear. Even so, if they would not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they would not listen even to one come back from the dead.
Lutek K. says
Choice number two is the best – call them errors in the Bible and be done with it.
It’s the best choice of the three, though not quite correct. The errors are not primarily in the Bible.
The Old Testament is an anthology and history of theological and spiritual development of Jewish people. The New Testament is an anthology and history of reactions to the life and teachings of Yeshua bar Yosef, or Jesus. The errors are in the human actions and ideas being reported – though probably in some of the reporting as well.
We shouldn’t use the phrase “Inspired by God” so freely. After all, Jim Jones and David Koresh were inspired by God too. So was Osama Bin Laden. So are members of ISIS. The thing is, inspiration by God is probably always accompanied by temptation, to which all of the above so infamously and tragically succumbed.
“Inspired by God” is not the same as “written by God.”
The Word of God is not the same as the Bible.
Scripture does not necessarily mean the Bible.
All parts of the Bible are not necessarily sacred scripture, as the eleven verses demonstrate thoroughly. Since inspiration is probably always accompanied by temptation, isn’t it just possible that the Bible has its own “satanic verses”?
What if God didn’t produce an official instruction book (as well as a few heathen “fakes”), but instead wanted us all, of every faith, from every mansion in our Father’s house, to learn together from our spiritual experiences and histories, and to help each other grow in our understanding of the holy and the divine? What if our ultimate destiny is to realize the immense implication of the fact that we are all sons and daughters of God, and by retaining and developing that awareness, by regaining our own holy natures and divine images, to finally bring about the Kingdom of God “on Earth, as it is in heaven”?
Jeremy Myers says
Good input. Thanks. I definitely think you hit on a good point about how we need to carefully think through what we mean by the terms “Inspired,” “inerrant,” “Word of God,” and other similar terms.
I really like your questions at the end. Thought-provoking!
Howard E. Chinn says
I would tell people who are disturbed by what they are reading in the Bible to ignore the impression coming from organized religion about what the Bible says. Then I would show them what I think the Bible is trying to say. I would allow them to make up their own minds on the subject. Hyperbole is a word that comes to mind. I have found in my life this usually satisfies their concerns.
People want honesty. Not religious B.S.
Acts 17:11 is one of my favorites
Jeremy Myers says
Yes! People want honesty, not religious BS. Most of our answers we provide to the critics are what we tell ourselves to make us feel better about what we believe.
God is love, but he is also wraith, jealous, and a litany of other attributes. Part of your problem is that your are trying to conform the texts to your own understanding rather than looking at the actual meaning. I’ve never heard anyone claiming the proverb promise of a dog returning to its vomit! So why would I think that all the psalms are promises. The part about children being dashed on the rocks isn’t a command or even a recommendation it’s not literal. It’s someone lamenting that their being scatter (Israel) is like being dashed on rocks like an analogy. If you look at commentaries about the Bears and the boys you realize that they was much more going on than just face value. Being “bald” was an insult to his prophethood not his actual physical baldness. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and sometimes the translations don’t quite come across. Sometimes the translation from Hebrew to Greek leaves you with two different words like fear and wonder come to mind. Fear for the Hebrew translation and wonder or amazement for the Greek or Aramaic. Just because something doesn’t make sense to you doesn’t mean that it doesn’t make sense. It could just mean that you don’t understand it and you need to look to God and others for help.
Sam Riviera says
Brolo747, I agree. Issues such as translations, original languages, not being fully aware of the context including the context of the times, situations, culture, what issues the writer was addressing and so on can make passages unclear, even troubling to us when read at face value. Wouldn’t you agree that this also happens with other passages that we think we understand? Maybe they don’t really mean what we think they do. However, if the “obvious” meaning tends to support some of our favorite beliefs and doctrines, we don’t question them. Should we not also look to God and others for help in understanding those passages, and consider language, translation, context and other issues that affect possible understandings/ interpretations of those passages?
Jeremy Myers says
These verses do make sense to me. I have devoted my life to studying them and understanding them. I have explanations and understandings of these texts which fit well within traditional, conservative Christianity.
But that is not the point.
The point is whether these explanations (either yours or mine) will be initially helpful for those people who have issues with the biblical text. I think such explanations are not initially helpful. They might be helpful later, but not at first.
To Sam : What are you trying to say are you inventing a kind of straw man to prove your point? Or just being general because you don’t have any actual examples of what you’re talking about? What are the “favorite doctrines” that “WE” are espousing? Clearly there is a way things were meant to be read and understood. Or why would Paul have met with Peter and James (on more than one occasion) to make sure they were on the same page? And your conclusion was my conclusion so that’s just a little awkward. You basically restated what I said…
To Jeremy :
You claim that after the fact and even mention as the third option that you would change your thinking (far outside the realm of orthodoxy) to accommodate “your” beliefs. I understand what you are saying after the fact, but that’s not how the article comes across. As for whether or not it will land with non-believers that is always up to God not us making it more digestible or compromising content to make a point won’t convey the truth of the gospel message.
Galatians 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Jeremy Myers says
I agree with Sam. All of us are trying to please God, we just go about it in different ways. The religious people in Jesus’ day didn’t like how He was pleasing God, but He certainly did.
Sam Riviera says
No straw man. I’m merely attempting to point out that we should apply this same methodology to all of the Bible, not just to “troublesome” passages. I hope that is what you are also saying.
John M. Lasota says
Tell them what Jesus said–you have heard it said but I tell you the truth.
I am really struggling with all this at the moment – not only the “terrible verses” but also the fact of the great suffering on earth. Things, as the atheists say, are not always bright and beautiful or appear to be wise and wonderful. When insects destroy the eyes of children which then makes them unfit to approach God according to the OT verse – for instance. Sigh. I could go on and on. I really appreciate your writings Jeremy and that I am not alone in my questionings. The thing that comes to mind is trust – trust without understanding is indeed difficult.
Jeremy Myers says
I am struggling with you. You are right that the issue is NOT so much about the terrible verses in the Bible, but with the terrible pain and hurt and suffering in our world today. This is THE ISSUE people really have in mind when they voice concern about these difficult texts in the Bible.
Thanks for thinking and reading along with me!
Thank you, Paula, for taking the time to write your thoughts on the subject. It was very meaningful and interesting to me. It gave me a different perspective!
Mike Reynolds says
Thank you Jeremy for an excellent and troubling post. Praise Jesus that we know that God is love and that explains most about God that we need to know. I tend to lean on the New Testament for revelation. The Old Testament gives us the proof for the New Testament. That is the greatest utility of the Old Testament. I know that the Old Testament is not for our current practice today. You may be correct God could have laid down or allowed these troubling passages for judgment and to test our love.
Sam Riviera says
This is a good post, Jeremy, and a good discussion, especially in light of the fact that those commenting come at the issues from a wide variety of perspectives.
Peter W Rouzaud says
A careful reading of the NT never says that Jesus used the scourge on humans. It also says ‘he spoke to the dove sellers’ . For years apologetics was a kind of hobby for me. Then I realized, no one is ‘saved’ via apologetics. I no longer felt obliged to argue the value of scripture. Later I read someone, ‘God communicates to rational man, through reason’. It dawned on me, if this is so, anything unreasonable must be subject to what I know of my reasonable God. IE, is it reasonable, God being LOVE, can predestine some to hell? Just as it is reasonable that it is ‘impossible for God to lie’, there are boundaries where God does not go. Since man has had his (literal) hand in ‘God’s Word’, when there is a conflict of morals, we must therefore default to the reasonableness of a God of Love to settle all questions. Think about yourself, you certainly know God’s forgiveness and forbearance for you, for your thought life, your human propensities- correct? He is the same loving God, yesterday, today and forever for the entire world!
Jeremy Myers says
Right! We can have “all the answers” (at least, answers that make sense to us), but still not persuade or convince a single person that God is love, and that Jesus reveals God to us, and that God loves and forgives us.
Logical explanations about difficult biblical texts will never persuade anyone to love or accept God. Thanks for pointing this out!
So you’re saying that if you can’t understand something it must be flawed not you? Sounds like sound advice……NOT!!! I can give you a perfectly biblical explaination for at least half of these verses I can’t for the rest and they do perplex me. But I’m not so arrogant as to say that they are wrong. I generally accept that my understanding is not seeing the whole picture. These verses can be reconciled to God’s nature, but you have to first be in acceptance of his full nature (meaning God’s only attributes isn’t Love, but he is perfect we are not).
Jeremy Myers says
Are you asking this question to me or one of the other commenters?
If to me, I am not saying that these verses are wrong. I am saying that the way Christians often use (and explain) these verses is wrong.
Peter W Rouzaud says
Question: what is your faith in, or Who is your faith in? Is your faith in some committee who decided on what is canon, and what Latin word should be translated for a particular Greek word? Is your faith in a book? Is your faith in a man…..How about John Calvin, no doubt a brilliant genius, yet he was party to burning Servetus at the stake! But Calvin’s systematic theology has lasted for centuries; he is followed by the best Christian scholars (Piper being one) in America. But does Calvin have God’s endorsement? I don’t think so; John said, if you don’t walk in love, you don’t even know God. Those we think the scripture is plenary, certain should believe the first epistle of John!
Yes, I believe God gave us his book. But I further believe God gave us His Spirit. I am saying, if I cannot explain something. I always default to what God is, ‘Love’. What is love? If we cannot have some rational definition of Love, then how are we communicate to one another; then why communicate at all? Even the heavens declare the glory of God, yet there are men, for the sake of dogma deny God. Religionists’ are no different.
Jeremy Myers says
Great points. It is shocking for some to learn how the Bible was put together (by church counsels and tradition). Our book did not fall out of heaven as a complete text. So as you say, the indwelling Spirit is so important, not just for helping us understand the Bible, but (more importantly) for learning how to live life.
I love your point about those who deny God because of their religion.
Wow, this is such an important topic to cover – thanks, Jeremy!
My simple mind wants to think about handling this issue with 3 points:
1. The Biblical story is not simple and requires study to even begin to start to put all the pieces together. Thus, snap judgments about the Bible based on a verse here and there may not be wise.
2. Verses in the Bible need context, and unfortunately, they can be taken out of context to support anyone’s relative truth. Sometimes it even requires the entire context of Jesus’ story of redemption as contrast to the strange laws prescribed in Leviticus. It certainly builds my appreciation for Jesus that His sacrifice established a different set of laws – internal instead of external.
3. The Bible is “sufficient” for us to know the character of God inasmuch as God wanted to reveal His character. It is not comprehensive. As some of your other readers recognize, “We don’t know for sure” is an important response to keep in mind when engaging in these conversations with non-believers.
Thanks again for writing on this thought-provoking topic, Jeremy!
Jeremy Myers says
Thanks for reading it, Eric, and for weighing in.
You are absolutely right that the Bible is complex and requires study. Context is so critical also, and there are so many contexts to look at, it is difficult to know that you have studied them all adequately. This is why humility is needed in our “conclusions” about any text.
My problem is that ipso facto – 2 results in the same net result as 3. If you cannot trust the commands that Moses is giving to the Israelites are truly from God, than you can just go through the Book picking and choosing.
Jeremy Myers says
Not really, because you have the true “canon” of Jesus Christ, the Word of God, to guide the process.
Cathey Morgan says
2c worth: much of the “anger ” of God in the OT seems to coinside with the angry “gods ” of the surrounding nations. Could sine of the writers have been seeing God through a lense, as many of us do now?
Slavery: we are still slaves. We MUST work for our livelihood. Even if we have our own business, we are still controlled by a government who just finds a socially acceptable form of abuse and control.
Just a couple of my many many thoughts, which are always on-going.
I enjoyed all the comments (that i had time to read).
Jeremy Myers says
Yes! I think you are exactly on to something there.
Uh….has anyone on this thread read the book of Romans? I’m just curious. Seems like this just takes some obsolete laws that were lifted and tries to demonize believers using those passages. There’s reasons that there are 66 books, and that is so you cannot choose 5 or 6 of them and use that to justify “Why you became an atheist”. Kind of silly to me.
Jeremy Myers says
Yet Christians quote verses from Leviticus or Joshua or certain Psalms all the time to justify their hatred. So the real reason that some people become Atheists is because of the behavior of other Christians.
I agree with your 3 approach these verses had to be written in the bible to show future generations that they are not acceptable . They like to read a little this and read a little that and don’t won’t to study it. These verses were so important for us to know how God does not want us to be. Yet people did it that way and God wasn’t happy with it. Even in the new testament Jesus told the people fixing to. Stone the adultery lady to death he told them that the one never committed a sin cast the 1st stone and they put it down.
Jeffrey White says
Good day, this is Jeffrey White. I think the points made with the Scripture verses cited were excellent; however I would have liked to have seen more New Testament verses, especially from words ascribed to Jesus, and from the letters of Paul which demonstrate a lack of human compassion and utilizing fear tactics; for although the New Testament emphasizes much more God’s love, grace and mercy, it does so conditionally, with threats of “eternal damnation” and “the flaming fire” for those who disbelieve or disobey. Also, other thoughts, what if God commanded the injustices and murders in the Old Testament?, and what if Jesus really was and is a spiritual despot who employed psychological terrorism to convince people to believe and follow Him?
Jeremy Myers says
I think that some modern teachers interpret the words of Jesus in a way that employs psychological terrorism, but in my understanding of these texts, Jesus was teaching the exact opposite. That is one reason I didn’t include more NT texts.
myth buster says
Everything God commands is just. If God ordered anyone to suffer calamity, that person deserved it. Are you going to tell God He can’t punish the wicked or that He is too harsh? That’s awfully arrogant of you, who are but dust that needs His permission to breathe. Verily, on Judgment Day, the damned will confess that God is just and righteous for condemning them to Hell, for they showed contempt for righteousness.
Sorry, have you read Job?
Some things in the Bible are not meant to be understood, and never will be. As for me every time I figure out one thing in the Bible it creates 10 more questions. The Bible is an infinite book, anyone who claims to understand it is fooling themselves. Also eternal life has always been by God’s Grace through faith. If not understanding something in the Bible causes someone to lose their faith maybe they never had saving faith to begin with. Likewise if a verse disturbs someone to the point that they reject God altogether maybe they just aren’t capable of ever believing. Let’s face reality: most people go to Hell, they go for various reasons but all the reasons in one way or another lead to the only unforgivable sin….unbelief. Look a Judas, he spent 3 1/2 years with Jesus, he saw the miracles, he heard the preaching, yet he didn’t believe. Many people saw the miracles and refused to believe. Some people won’t believe no matter what.
Jo Moschino says
The natural man does not understand the things of the spirit, they are foolishnes to him, because they are spiritually discerned.
Chelonia Testudines says
“the reason God inspired these texts to be written in Scripture is not to justify such behavior and actions, but to challenge us to not do such things ourselves.”
Typical christian apologist that is making up excuses for why his god “inspired these texts to be written into scripture” instead of looking the real sin – why his god caused these things to happen in the first place.
Jeremy Myers says
This is a typical atheistic response that simply reveals you don’t know the first thing about what Christians actually believe.
Chelonia Testudines says
That’s a typical christian response that simply reveals that christians don’t know the first thing about what their religion actually perpetrates and the damage it does. Of course I’m not surprised by their ignorance because they have been brainwashed from an early age to not accept things using intelligence and reason, but to accept things based on “faith” – which is the opposite of reason. They love to be led around by the nose and have other people make decisions for them. They use their bible like it is a ouija board, trying to force meaning out of nonsense. Then they resort to the meaningless anti-intellectual blathering that their god moves in “mysterious ways” – when they mean he moves in cruel, racist, murderous, rapist, warmongering ways. Apologists and excuse-makers for their ill-conceived fantasy sky friend. Hah!
Sam Riviera says
Why are you here if you believe these things? When you attack anyone, they will be inclined to strike back, be they a religious group, a pro-gun or anti-gun group, a political group, the environmentalists or the rape-the earth folks. Are you on a Christian site attempting to elicit a response or because you’re curious about some aspect of Christianity or this site?
Jeremy Myers says
Sorry for the terseness of my initial response….
I fully agree and admit that many Christians teach what you say. But I 100% criticize such thinking and teaching, just as you do. Such a god is a monster god and is not worthy of being worshipped.
But I don’t believe in or worship that kind of god. I have never said anywhere that God moves in mysterious ways. Like you, I condemn all cruel, racist, murderous, rapist, warmongering ways that are attributed to god.
You and I are on the same page here. The god you don’t believe in, I don’t believe in either.
I have always loved the song The Love of God by Rich Mullins (imho, one of the most amazing people to ever live. If you don’t know who Rich Mullins is, remedy that asap.)
But anyway, in the song he describes the love of God as a “reckless, raging, fury.”
I highly recommend listening to this song.
Rich Mullins was never one to paint God as some saccharine, milquetoast, lovey-dovey “God is love” God.
He never shied away from the furious, jealous God.
There are a lot of things I don’t understand about God. (Understatement of the year)
I just have a fierce hope that all things work together for good in the end.
myth buster says
God is just, and His judgments are true and altogether righteous. To curse one’s parents or God’s prophets is a form of blasphemy, and in a theocracy, blasphemy is sedition.
Regarding genocide, the Torah explicitly states why the Israelites were to exterminate the inhabitants of the Promised Land: They were baby-burning sex perverts who even regarded such abominations as holy service to their gods. God had given them time to repent, and they used that time to multiply their abominations instead. Therefore, God ordered Israel to exterminate them and their livestock, and take nothing for a spoil, but rather blot out every trace of their existence. Israel thought that was too harsh and spared some of them, but their descendants proved the wisdom of God’s extermination order, because they fell into the same abominable practices as the condemned tribes, and for this reason suffered calamity upon calamity. God hates the shedding of innocent blood, and His wrath burns against the false gods that are pleased by such sacrifices.
Concerning slavery, God Himself is the avenger of the slave’s blood. The Jews had an obligation to treat their slaves as employees, not property, including giving them rest on Sabbaths and holidays. To be a slave in Israel was better than to be a poor freeman in the pagan nations, and if anyone dared abuse his slave, he could expect to incur God’s wrath, and slaves were expected to trust in the same.
Concerning Lot’s offering his daughters to the rape mob, I do not know what Lot was thinking, but seeing as those same daughters later plied him with alcohol and raped him, I’d say that Lot’s family, though the most virtuous in Sodom, were infected by Sodom’s wickedness themselves.
Concerning the woman intervening in the brawl, this was a law against escalating fights. By grabbing a man’s genitals, a woman would be guilty of escalating the fight and threatening the man’s progeny. She is therefore severely punished, lest others so escalate the fight, and what started as a fistfight turn into a blood feud.
Concerning the non-virgin bride, there is an element of fraud here. A woman who admitted she was not a virgin was immune from prosecution; only one who pretended to be a virgin bride was subject to execution, and even then, only if her husband accused her. Furthermore, if any man seduced her prior to her betrothal, she needed only publicly confess this fact, and she could require him to marry her and never divorce her. If she was raped in the city, her cries for help would vindicate her. If she was raped in the field, she was presumed innocent and would be vindicated by her own words. Under those circumstances, it is quite reasonable that a woman who married under false claim of virginity was presumed to be guilty of adultery, that is, having sexual relations with someone other than her betrothed during her betrothal.
Damn, son, who hurt you? I’m not sure I understand why you brought up Old Testament verses, because they don’t apply to our A.D. world anymore. But okay.
3..2...1.. (snap) says
Who cares what those verses are . You know the bible isn’t true from genesis. To deny the existence of dinosaurs or of caveman then no amount of evidence will convince you. You think the earth is 6000 years old for the bible tells you so. Studying the bible is a waste of time and unfortunately to some a waste of a lifetime.
brent Tamatea says
Snap dinosaurs are in the bible in Job its called a leviathon and i think brontosaurus maybe the other one also it talks of the earth hanging in space that was when people thought the earth was flat? Its sad you feel that way about the bible and there will be others that think that way but the one message that is still relevant today is that Jesus died for you and me we are sinners and that Jesus died for our sins and in him we have eternal life.What other book do you know that offers that.brentnz
For most Atheist it’s much more than just bible verses that has turned them Atheist. An atheist does not believe in a possibility of God, and a few unfavorable verses will not cause someone to think “well god doesn’t exist” instead these verses will make one think “god is a sexist, manipulative, racist, controlling, self conceded, physcopath.” Hence turning the reader into a pissed of christian, instead of an atheist.
I grew up in a christian home, I attended church every Sunday as a young child but have always had question about the religion that defied reality. I will admit I was never a strong christian. I had questions constantly. I was always finding contradictions. About the age of 16 I turned into agnostic. Questioning the existence of the deity but not writing off the possibility all together. At the age of 19 I classified as full atheist. Not because of unfavorable verses. But because of conditions. Because of the things that are not possible to happen (taking snake, really? That’s not possible ? have you ran a talking snake?! Noah building an ark with a pair of each animal. It would have took a sloth years upon years to even reach the ark to survive the flood. Jesus died for our sins. The ones he created us to have at that since we’re created in his image. And then he rose again. Yeah, like .. a zombie I guess? A virgin giving birth.. come’on now I shouldn’t even have to explain what’s wrong here) how were we created? “Well “God” created everything.”
Well if that was true, who created god? Did he just appear? Highly unlikely. The big bang theory is more thought out. More, idk… believable! And hey, atleast we can prove the universe exist.
Let’s think about this for a minute. If a god existed and wanted everyone to worship him. Why has he never presented himself to an atheist? If he was all knowing, why does he allow people to become pregnant who will 1- abuse their kids or 2- abort them
Why would he allow the birth of someone he knows will become atheist?
A question I always have for any religious person is a simple one. “Why do you believe in your god? Why don’t you worship Buddha, or Allah? Who’s to say that if a “god” exist that the one your worshipping is the correct one?” I normally get the answer back of “because I know” but in all honesty. You CANT know. Hell it is possible that us atheist are wrong. There’s no way to know for sure if a god exist and if it does there’s no telling which one is the correct one. Nobody knows the true answer and can not honestly say they do. A belief is just that. A belief, but it’s not a fact.
So what would you say to an atheist that had thought long and hard on the decision to become an atheist? Exactly how would you go about that debate. Because honestly. I’ve been in multiple religious debates. While I stay calm collected and respectful most christians turn to the popular phrase “you’re going to hell” or “what if you’re wrong” well honestly if I’m wrong, I just have to ask for his forgiveness right? That’s just a little atheist humor but to be honest here, if I am wrong than I’m wrong. I’ll go to hell and accept my fate. Although considering all the atheist scientist that would be condemned to hell, I’m sure there will be air conditioning by now, and think about how advanced hell would be thanks to these wonderful scientist! I have not once lost an atheist christian debate and have in fact turned people into atheist during these debates or have helped fellow atheist be able to come out as what they truly are. Was that my intention? No. Not at all. I respect everyone’s beliefs, and in no way try to turn them Atheist. But I do defend my side of atheist and help give people understanding as to why I am atheist. That’s the point in my debates. To help reach an understanding. To help young atheist be able to come out as atheist, and so they know they’re not alone.
Nate Wachnicki says
I find your statement about the Big Bang theory to be rather amusing. Science are full of contradictions. For example: One law of entropy states that matter can it be created nor destroyed, so how does that go hand in hand with that theory.
Secondly, if the Big Bang actually did occur, it would be clearly evident that every single gravitated mass of matter would be spinning the same speed and direction.
Thirdly, our universe is to perfect to be created by chance. If one thing had gone wrong in creation, we would not exist today. This simply suggests that there is an extremely intelligent creator.
P.S. Science and religion don’t always have to combat with one another!
“if one thing went wrong… ” Yup. Because this is the only possible way it all could be? Not likely. Other variations on this universe may not be wrong or right, just different.
A christian says
How do I? “THE BIBLE IS EVIL, THE SCRIPTURES PROVE IT!” “THE BIBLES NOT EVIL, YOUR INTERPRETING IT WRONG!” “I’M NOT INTERPRETING IT WRONG, YOU JUST CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH! Should I go on? WELL I SHOULD, SO HOW ABOUT THIS!? That second solution is the way people explain away bible passages they don’t like! What about all the other passages, what about the fact people had to pick parts of scriptures?! How about the fact that there are contradictions, but there are ways to explain them away and refute those explanations. I don’t freaking know! Christians to Atheists be like, “Your just being deceived by satan!” Atheists to Christians be like “Satan isn’t even real, hes just made up by Christians to shut down things or people they don’t like!”
Jeremy, in the spirit of continuing the dialogue, I pose this question in light of you asking about the atrocities by God.
If none of those accounts were in Scripture, but knowing that God has providence over the lives and deaths of people in this world, would you deem that all natural deaths comprise an atrocity by God? In other words, is every woman and man that lives to 80 and passes away naturally an example of God perpetrating an atrocity on humans? If not, why not?
Jeremy Myers says
I do not agree that God has providence over the lives and deaths of people in this world … (depending, of course, on how you define providence).
IF He did, then yes, every murder, death, rape, suicide, car accident, death by natural disaster, etc, etc, would continue to be an example of this ongoing atrocity.
myth buster says
Atrocity nothing, we deserve it. The wages of sin is death; the wicked cannot expect to live forever. But perhaps you don’t agree. Tell me, if you were on trial to decide whether or not you should live forever, and your accuser detailed everything you had ever done wrong, what would you say in your defense?
The wage of sin is spirtual death not physical death! Also, is it enough for a sinner to burn in eternal fire or he should nessesary die physically?
My answer is that that’s the way it had to be. That’s why Jesus had to die. It’s barbaric, it’s wrong but maybe that’s the best God could do at the time with us as defiant and barbaric as we were. A lot of this has to do with preservation of the bloodline and not spreading diseases. We have hospitals, and soap now.
Nate Wachnicki says
This is an interesting point of view. I never thought about that!
Paul Ahnert says
These passages reveal the holiness of God and the sin nature of man at it’s basest level. God’s call for perfection is given in the Law that we might realize we are not able to please God without His supernatural empowerment. 1 John 2:27 – But the anointing that you received from Him abides in you and you have no need that anyone should teach you…just as His anointing has taught you to abide in Him. Also Hebrews 11:6 – without faith it is impossible to please Him…
As harsh as these passages seem, they demonstrate the holy requirements of a holy God who also understands that we cannot achieve that holiness on our own and gives us the Holy Spirit to supernaturally empower us to please God and He offers us the righteousness of Christ by faith. Before Christ, God empowered His children by the Holy Spirit coming upon them and covered their sin through the sacrificial system. In Christ, we are declared righteous and empowered by the indwelling of the Spirit.
We cannot gloss over or water down the holiness of God in order to appease atheists who have rejected the knowledge of God that He placed in their hearts and revealed to them through creation.
Personally, it’s the smallness of the Bible which makes it so unbelievable to me, not necessarily any particular verse. It is stuck in the Middle East and makes no mention of space, most biology, Antarctica, Australia and NZ, bacteria or a host of other things that Yahweh should know about if it was omniscient. Nor has it been updated once in 2 millennia.
brent Tamatea says
The bible is explicit in that it shows the wickedness of our hearts times have changed but our sinful nature is still the same slavery still exists human trafficking.Expoitation of workers murdering babies as in abortion why are we surprised the bible offers us the chance to change the way we are but the truth is we cant in ourselves because we are slaves to sin.In Christ we can be set free so i have no problem looking at what happened in the old testament because those attitudes still exist.There is still hatred towards other nations and people groups that they would have no hesitation on killing it happened in south africa in recent years genocide if anything it was the gospel that helped to reconcile these groups how do you deal with the killings and the hatred for what others had done to your family murdering parents sons and daughter this is how it was in the old testement Christ brings reconcilation to them that are suffering and to us that we may treat others with the respect they deserve.brentnz
Candace Wight says
Misleading and taken out of context. Genesis 19:8 This was about Lot protecting two angels in his house. The men ultimately became blinded by the angels. It was an escape for Lot and his family.
Exodus 21:20-21 He was addressing laws about murder. There was probably no way to prove if it was the man’s fault two days after a beating, but during or right after would be easy.
Lev 25:44-45 People owned servants. That’s a fact that happened. I’m sure God would have preferred if everyone was more enlightened but every man has his own personal growth. If all servants and slaves were set free, with no government how would hierarchy and order be maintained?
1 Peter 2:18 Advice about submission to all in all walks of life. Letters written to struggling Christians.
Deut 22: 20-21 Severe yes, but God does not want his children to be whores and they needed harsh lessons then.
Deut 23:1 This is about not allowing eunuchs into the fold, because they were enemies if you read on through 23:5 they hired idol worshipers to fight his people.
Deut 25:11-12 It is not okay to touch another man’s privates, the wife who finds herself defending her husband if he needs her help must come up with another method to help. Remember these people were stiff necked and needed severe repercussions.
Lev 21:18-19. This is about who could enter into the holy place. Only the unblemished sons of Levi were allowed. Others had died just touching the ark.
Lev 20:9 Another harsh but necessary requirement for obeyance and order.
2Kings 2:23-24. Another necessary harshness to restore order. If that many children are mocking a prophet then there was no order or respect as there is very little today.
Psalm 137:9 A poem of someone lamenting being in captivity of Babylon. Read the whole thing.
People need to read the whole and pray for understanding of the word. They need to read with open minds and hearts.
hi, i am an indigeous man from guatemala, with little education , but who in fact never convinced of religions from the middle east, especially christianity. you dont have to be a genius to realized that those book are full of absurdities..
Likhit G says
HI, I would suggest u read the verses after and before the one’s you’ve mentioned. Kindly dont mislead people
All these texts are from the Old Testament. The whole idea of Christianity is that in the New Testament Jesus blood and sacrifice for our sin was as a result of his great love for us, which we will never understand. Thus, Jesus dying on the cross was a way for us to go to heaven and have a relationship with him, and because of this the Old Testament scriptures as described up above was ruled out.
The two laws that came in was “love your neighbor as yourself” which in your examples was not the case so the people were not true Christians,
and “love the lord your god with all your heart soul mind and strength” basically saying, that if you had a super hot girlfriend you wouldn’t just have nothing to do with her. You would spend time with her, in the same way it’s saying to have a relationship with god.
Jesus died so we could have a relationship, a relationship with the father, our father.
As for the reason why we have the old testiment it is proof that Jesus is real. In psalm 22 it talks a lot about Jesus death and resurrection. (Plus remember it was written by David not by someone after Jesus existed)
The bible itself in all its languages and abrieviations is all based of the original manuscripts, it is taken purely from the source not off other bibles.
I highly recommend you spend time in a Cristian environment attend church or a bible study (with Christians) and question their beliefs and understanding, not deepen yourself in disbelief. Because you won’t understand what they believe without the view of an actual Christian. An example of this is say you want to play in the next martial arts torniment yet your taking advice from geeks who will never ever step foot in that place without being smoothed.
I hope your able to consider this advice because what your actually talking about has no deeper reaserch at all. Your simply scratching the surface.
FIND OUT WHY CHRISTIANITY EXISTS
Christianity couldn’t have survived if their wasn’t some meaning behind it. Why do Christians still believe if they read passages like this in their day to day studies? Why do they believe in their god without disbelief? And if you say they were brainwashed, they weren’t C.S Lewis grew up with Cristian parents but ended up being atheist. Later because of seeing the truth* he believed in chistanity. And that’s the same for 2.2 billion people in the world (and that’s people who are registered, what about the people who arent).
I truly hope you consider this.
*jesus death and resurrection/ him being the son of god.
Nate Wachnicki says
I think a great way to settle the controversies on these verses are a more historical context. If you notice, every single verse was taken from the Old Testament. If you recall, this is a period of time when God was leading the Jewish people.
However, in modern times, Christians following the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus came down to Earth as a child and created a new covenant or “series of rules” that followers of God should follow…meaning that Christians should rely more on the teachings of Christ.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that the Old Testament is bad and wrong and to not follow it…the truth is far from that. I like to look at the Old Testament as the storyline of why Jesus came down to Earth. And, like I stated earlier, Jesus wanted us to follow the way that HE lived.
K Pearson says
Loving it. This is a great site to discuss these ‘difficult’ verses. I wouldn’t mind having a go at all of them, but probably don’t have the full answer to
Genesis 19.6-8 tells how Lot was prepared to sacrifice his virgin daughters to the mob who were demanding homosexual rape with his male visitors.
It is a mistake to assume that the Bible approves of Lot’s behaviour. Nowhere does the Bible say he was doing the right thing. The reason it doesn’t is simple- he did the wrong thing! The Bible records many deeds of many people including the cowardly and the wicked. Certainly there was nothing good about what Lot was prepared to do. He was terrified, there was a violent mob outside his door demanding a self-assumed ‘right’ to rape his male visitors. Lot was powerless and tried to save himself by offering his girls instead. But they didn’t want them! Lot certainly reacted in a cowardly manner, but none of us knows how we will react in a desperate situation until we’ve been there. We all admire heroism and despise cowardice and selfishness, but the reality is, many people give in to fear sometimes. The good news for Lot was that God intervened and saved him, and his daughters too, despite his moral weakness. This is a good description of how God offers salvation. We don’t deserve anything good from God, in fact we deserve the opposite. Yet Jesus paid the bill for our sins anyway. All we have to do is believe, as the Bible says in John 3.16.
I’m an atheist ex-Christian. As you might imagine, I disagree with you about the existence of a deity and the nature of the Bible. However, I am very pleasantly surprised to see a Christian honestly attempting to address a real and common complaint that critics of Christianity have.
It’s refreshing to see a Christian talking about atheists in a way that isn’t just derisive diatribe (e.g. the mutilated dead horse of quoting Psalms 14:1). If more Christians took this approach, I think a far greater proportion of atheists would consider Christianity coexistable.
This article wasn’t written to convince me, and even if it hasn’t made me have faith in Christ, it has increased my faith in Christians.
Jeremy Myers says
Thanks, Fletcher. Sadly, far too many Christians would rather condemn and accuse thoughtful atheists such as yourself than consider some of the hard questions and issues that you raise about our beliefs, behaviors, and our Bible. But there are a few of us out here who love such conversations!
I am sorry, but this is delusional and hypocritical. You are trying to be an apologist, rewriting/reinterpreting these vile verses to make them palatable… well, you can’t. The being that commanded/condoned these things is one of the worst fictional characters ever created. The pages of your bible are blood soaked, vile, and hate-filled fiction. There is no evidence for the existence of this god, his son or his holy ghost. The OT is full of this tripe, jesus goes on to endorse the OT in the NT as well as bring in the concept of Hell. He is NOT sinless either.
Here are a few more examples to add to your current 11 verses… some may be duplicates, but as you can see, the HOLY book, as you people claim it, is full of this stuff…
The Biblical god is evil, examples provided:
1. God drowns the whole earth.
In Genesis 7:21-23, God drowns the entire population of the earth: men, women, children, fetuses, and perhaps unicorns. Only a single family survives. In Matthew 24:37-42, gentle Jesus approves of this genocide and plans to repeat it when he returns.
2. God kills half a million people.
In 2 Chronicles 13:15-18, God helps the men of Judah kill 500,000 of their fellow Israelites.
3. God slaughters all Egyptian firstborn.
In Exodus 12:29, God the baby-killer slaughters all Egyptian firstborn children and cattle because their king was stubborn. (And it was God who made his stubborn, but hardening his heart when Pharaoh was about to let the Jews go).
4. God kills 14,000 people for complaining that God keeps killing them.
In Numbers 16:41-49, the Israelites complain that God is killing too many of them. So, God sends a plague that kills 14,000 more of them.
5. Genocide after genocide after genocide.
In Joshua 6:20-21, God helps the Israelites destroy Jericho, killing “men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.” In Deuteronomy 2:32-35, God has the Israelites kill everyone in Heshbon, including children. In Deuteronomy 3:3-7, God has the Israelites do the same to the people of Bashan. In Numbers 31:7-18, the Israelites kill all the Midianites except for the virgins, whom they take as spoils of war. In 1 Samuel 15:1-9, God tells the Israelites to kill all the Amalekites – men, women, children, infants, and their cattle – for something the Amalekites’ ancestors had done 400 years earlier.
6. God kills 50,000 people for curiosity.
In 1 Samuel 6:19, God kills 50,000 men for peeking into the ark of the covenant. (Newer cosmetic translations count only 70 deaths, but their text notes admit that the best and earliest manuscripts put the number at 50,070.)
7. 3,000 Israelites killed for inventing a god.
In Exodus 32, Moses has climbed Mount Sinai to get the Ten Commandments. The Israelites are bored, so they invent a golden calf god. Moses comes back and God commands him: “Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.” About 3,000 people died.
8. The Amorites destroyed by sword and by God’s rocks.
In Joshua 10:10-11, God helps the Israelites slaughter the Amorites by sword, then finishes them off with rocks from the sky.
9. God burns two cities to death.
In Genesis 19:24, God kills everyone in Sodom and Gomorrah with fire from the sky. Then God kills Lot’s wife for looking back at her burning home.
10. God has 42 children mauled by bears.
In 2 Kings 2:23-24, some kids tease the prophet Elisha, and God sends bears to dismember them. (Newer cosmetic translations say the bears “maul” the children, but the original Hebrew, baqa, means “to tear apart.”)
11. A tribe slaughtered and their virgins raped for not showing up at roll call.
In Judges 21:1-23, a tribe of Israelites misses roll call, so the other Israelites kill them all except for the virgins, which they take for themselves. Still not happy, they hide in vineyards and pounce on dancing women from Shiloh to take them for themselves.
12. 3,000 crushed to death.
In Judges 16:27-30, God gives Samson strength to bring down a building to crush 3,000 members of a rival tribe.
13. A concubine raped and dismembered.
In Judges 19:22-29, a mob demands to rape a godly master’s guest. The master offers his daughter and a concubine to them instead. They take the concubine and gang-rape her all night. The master finds her on his doorstep in the morning, cuts her into 12 pieces, and ships the pieces around the country.
14. Child sacrifice.
In Judges 11:30-39, Jephthah burns his daughter alive as a sacrificial offering for God’s favor in killing the Ammonites.
15. God helps Samson kill 30 men because he lost a bet.
In Judges 14:11-19, Samson loses a bet for 30 sets of clothes. The spirit of God comes upon him and he kills 30 men to steal their clothes and pay off the debt.
16. God demands you kill your wife and children for worshiping other gods.
In Deuteronomy 13:6-10, God commands that you must kill your wife, children, brother, and friend if they worship other gods.
17. God incinerates 51 men to make a point.
In 2 Kings 1:9-10, Elijah gets God to burn 51 men with fire from heaven to prove he is God.
18. God kills a man for not impregnating his brother’s widow.
In Genesis 38:9-10, God kills a man for refusing to impregnate his brother’s widow.
19. God threatens forced cannibalism.
In Leviticus 26:27-29 and Jeremiah 19:9, God threatens to punish the Israelites by making them eat their own children.
20. The coming slaughter.
According to Revelation 9:7-19, God’s got more evil coming. God will make horse-like locusts with human heads and scorpion tails, who torture people for 5 months. Then some angels will kill a third of the earth’s population.
These are just the killing part…. I haven’t even gotten into the other immoral/evil things he does in the bible…
Now, folks are saying that this is all OT stuff and that jesus came to become a sacrifice for us and that he only preached love and kindness… really??
What about the Canaanite woman begging him to heal her daughter… and he basically calls her a dog?
What about whipping the money lenders in the temple?
What about killing a fig tree, just because it was out of season and it did not have any fruit on it when jesus was hungry?
What about his creation of Hell? Hell is not mentioned in the OT.. that is all jesus…
What about where he says that he does not come to bring peace but to bring the sword. How son must turn against father and mother, wife and children, how daughter in law must turn against mother in law etc etc etc… that anyone who loves their family over jesus is not worthy of jesus??
What about where he tells people not to prepare for the future, not to put food and money aside for a rainy day because god will provide all things? That is the act of a good and wise person?
I am an atheist….no surprise, I am assuming… and I am an atheist because I have not been convinced that this god, and his son and spirit exist. Just like I don’t believe in Zeus or Thor, or Allah, or Vishnu etc… and for the same reasons… there is no evidence, no proof, nothing measurable or demonstrable… but, even, EVEN if he did exist… he is NOT worthy of worship…
I see people in these comments trying to explain away these atrocities in a being who is supposed to be perfect and the ultimate love etc… but you can’t explain these away… this is a vile, thuggish, bloodthirsty, genocidal, megalomaniac….
He creates us (out of adam and eve, who had 2 sons…one of which is killed so where do the rest of us come from?), and finds that we are not what he had in mind…. so, he drowns the world and leaves 8 people to restart humanity… all early ‘jews’ I assume… so where do we get white, black, brown, red and yellow skinned people from?? In less than 4,000 years or so, by creationist accounting…. not too bloody likely. He then doesn’t like what happens again, so destroys Sodom and Gomorrah, which people say was because of homosexuality… not so… in Ezekiel 16:48–50, He explains that the sin of Sodom was that “She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me.” Now we have poor Lot, the righteous man and his 2 daughters… such paragons of virtue… that they decide to get their dad drunk on 2 separate nights so they can basically rape him so they can get pregnant by him… these are supposedly 2 pure virgins we are talking about here…
If you sit and read this vile book from genesis to revelation, and you don’t feel sick in your heart and to your stomach, I think you should seek for professional help because you are likely a bit of a sociopath or more than likely an indoctrinated xtian.
I am sorry Jeremy… but it is a load of the vilest crap… and you seem too intelligent a person, and so do some of your commenters, to still believe in this non-existent being, and like I said, even if he did exist, he is tooo vile to be someone worthy of praise or love, let alone worship.
Thanks for your time and consideration…
Philip B Mejia says
It is so obvious to me that men create gods in men’s images in the fact that when Christians are questioned about their infallible Word of God, and you point out the cruelties in it, they try to recreate a better image of this cruel, hideous, and barbaric god. I am happy to say, I don’t have a god, I don’t want one, nor do I have a need for one.
By the way, I was a Christian for over 50 years. I am happy to no longer believe in such nonsense.
robert sumners says
Yes i am a non believer, and in my view it all comes down to this ”the beginning,” mythologically speaking that is:
Adam and Eve did not know of good and evil. They were innocent. They did not know of deceit, anger, lust or evil. The serpent lied to them but they would not have known that the serpent’s intents were not good. Mistrust is only a thing that is learnt once evil and sin are experienced. There was not yet any sin, so they couldn’t have mistrusted the serpent – so they believed what the serpent said. This isn’t Adam and Eve’s fault. It is only possible to detect lying and deceit once you know what good and evil is! God would have known that Adam and Eve did not understand deception could not have mistrusted the serpent. So why did God not stop the serpent? God itself could easily have picked the serpent up and thrown it out of the Garden of Eden. It is easily seen that to punish Adam and Eve, or anyone, for wrongdoing is only moral if they have the required understanding. In other words, Adam and Eve were not making a “moral decision” when they believed the snake, because they didn’t have basic knowledge about the nature of the serpent, and couldn’t understand the moral situation.
Punishment for disobedience. ????
God makes a command known, but makes a death threat as a punishment. A death threat is not a suitable punishment for eating from the tree of knowledge. A death threat should only be issued under serious circumstances, not as a punishment for curiosity or disobedience. This story demonstrates God’s wrath and anger and shows us that God is not forgiving. If we use this story as an example for ethical thinking, we can conclude that we can kill or shorten the lives of those who do not do as we say! During the Dark Ages, coincidentally, this is what the Christian Church did.
Furthermore, punishing one person for the actions of another is immoral. If we use the Adam and Eve story to explain evil, suffering and death then we are saying that God is immoral and not a forgiving God. Judging Adam and Eve even when they didn’t know the difference between good and evil, when they didn’t know it was wrong to disobey and couldn’t understand that the serpent tricked them, is also immoral. The Adam and Eve story is not a suitable moral story for children nor is it a valid theodicy to explain evil.!!!!!
Jeremy Myers says
You raise good points about the Adam and Eve story. In my One Verse Podcast, I present an explanation of Genesis 1-4 that many people haven’t heard before, but which makes a lot more sense of the text in light of science, culture, and history.
John brings up several more verses that should be a problem for you all but has only hit some of the easier ones. They’re everywhere folks, but I expect you’ll be winding circles of illogic around yourself in denial. Hell, most of you can’t even see the basics: there’s no Satan, no Hell, no prophecy for Jesus, it’s probable the “god of the OT” was as many as 4 or more, Jesus was invented- the exact time of the viper biting Cleopatra is known but there’s no record of a Jesus although he was said to live in the midst of an occupation by a well organized, record keeping organization.
I want to put something in perspective for you regarding religious belief – I believe in just one fewer god than you. I’m not angry about it anymore than you’re angry about not believing in Odin. You’re not, are you? I’m angry American christians are apparently bent on twisting our constitution into something it isn’t and I’m distressed you killed languages, cultures and humans in the name of your “loving god”. That’s just hateful and hypocritical- why would someone do that?
I just want you all to leave us alone and remember your dreadful interpretation of secular documents has no place in governing anyone.
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, there are many difficult texts in the Bible. One of the reasons I write on this site is to explain these texts. Please know that there are actually explanations for them which help us see that God is not the monster God that many make Him out to be.
David Hampton says
You seem to forget these are all Old Testament scripture in which Jesus dying changed the whole religion. The laws of the Old Testament were washed away. We only read the Old Testament to tie the timeline & prophecy’s together.
Aidan McLaughlin says
Such a wonderful and dark conversation about God’s word. And honest. If the Bible had been not finished with revelation but continued on with many thousands of more books. Included in these books is the story of you and I. And say I had been to iraq to blow the shit out of iraqy, s. Women and children included. And my government with God as their witness sent me. And I believed in that. And then someone else wrote the story. Would it sound like an old testimont book. The bible actually states that if everything jesus said was put into books then the world could not contain them. Now that’s interesting! And so it is. Each of our story, s are written but not readable. When we read the old testament we have to take into account it was written by man. But all words are inspired by God. In the beginning was the word!! If someone were to read the book of Aidan that someone wrote about me after my death and noted every thought and detail!!! I shudder to think of the content. Similar to everyone watching a video of my entire life and ALL it, s content. Oooooooooo. Not good. Not good at all! But then all is good! And very good! According to the creation story. And I believe the creation story now. In full. So indeed all is good. It is really hard to get your head round this even as a believer so the atheist must be given maximum love and understanding for at least being honest!!!! God will call him or her in his time. Not in our time, or method or anything to do with us actually. When I was born again a young man gave me a piece of scripture from the gospel of John from a bible. God used that young man to in the act of me meeting jesus and the Holy spirit. But the young man to be honest knew nothing of what was going on in the spiritual realms or what was taking place in my unique person. And that’s a good thing. Otherwise people would begin to think they were God instead of being part of God. We as believers never save anyone. Or even lead them to the Lord. That’s poppycock,!! God dies ALL the work. Kid yourselves not otherwise!!!
In the age before the common area, being a slave was a good deal.
The world had limited good, but a person, probably from a tribe weakened or destroyed by warfare, would have few options for survival.
A family able to purchase a slave was also taking on a liability, and thus the extra person was expected to contribute in order to be fed, clothed and protected.
There were people who entered slavery of their own volition, being that the only thing of value they had was their own flesh.
Masters were not necessarily power tripping overlords, but people who also needed to survive and strengthen their own tribe, or face annihilation. Absolutely no one, not even relatives, were brought in by the goodness of a tribes heart.
It was a world of lack, discomfort, hardship and often brutal death. Slavery was an adaptation to that, and unlike other tribal societies, then patriarchs put limits on how badly slaves could be treated, as well as set the baseline for how they were to be minimally treated.
Another innovation that also puts the whole system in context is the system of jubilees that for at least a portion of slaves(probably from distant yet culturally similar tribes), the period of slavery was limited.
Finally, in the total social order, the obligations of lower status people in a tribe who were not slaves was also strict obedience. If you eat the tribes food, drink from its wells, move in its territory then you were at best a vassal and at worst a slave.
“There is a way to both affirm inspiration and inerrancy while at the same time denying that God had anything to do with it.”
I like to use Numbers 31 as a test of a Christian’s morality. If a Christian explains to me why it is ethical to commit genocide (except for virgin women, who are taken as spoils of war), then that Christian has demonstrated to me that they are not a moral person.
Even better, this was done at the commandment of Moses, who was doing God’s will. So it is difficult to deny God’s will in this.
Sorry, but the author has way to much attitude and self-importance. Very simple, if a deity made the universe (so big we can only see some of it) are we in a position to challenge his opinion of morality? Should God adjust to us or doesn’t it make logical sense that we would adjust to him.
God will not make sense to anyone who won’t humble themselves. Think you know better than God, knock yourself out.
Charlie Bucket says
You were doing so well until option 3.
What an obfuscation.
You’re nearly there, though. Keep going. Stick to intellectual honesty and a strong moral outlook, and you’ll admit the truth to yourself.
Come on – it is only a few short steps of honesty – and you already know the truth in your heart.
There is no God.
The Bible is entirely the product of flawed humanity, end to end.
Let’s have no more special pleading, or begging the question.
Let it go, and be free.
And what about the other god’s he missed by not being born in the wrong country ?
We are all Atheist’s and destined to go to some other deity’s hell.
Ashes to ashes and dust to dust. YOLO
EVERYTHING in the universe dies sooner or later, the galaxies, the sun, animals AND human beings.
Why did Jesus proclaim resurrection when there is only certain death for EVERYTHING?
John 11:25 (KJV) Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
Christianity is the reason why the world is filled with hate yes I say all Christians hateful and bigots not to mention racists
Excellent logical thinking, in most of the comments here, but quantum thinking will take you even farther. Are you sure the only judgments possible are either A or B?
I was once convinced of the Josh McDowell options.
Jesus was Liar ,
Jesus was Lunatic or
Jesus was Lord.
He never contemplated the forth one.
Jesus was only a Legend.
This method you’ve devised of interpreting God’s biblical blood-lust as anything but face-value feebly attempts to do the same thing countless apologists before you have attempted: to somehow convince those of us not wearing the God-colored glasses of indoctrination that your holy book is anything other than a collection of crudely written stories and archaic doctrines conjured up by demonstrably ignorant, though admittedly creative iron age primitives. I’d ask you to point me in the direction of any example non-anecdotal evidence that suggests I’m mistaken here, but we both know where you’d send me: directly to the very book in question. Christian apologist logic clearly dictates that nothing proves the Bible’s veracity quite like the Bible!
I can certainly appreciate and even respect the brutally honest commentary you offered while presenting these 11 so called “Atheist-Maker Verses” of the Bible. I literally thought I had stumbled upon the unthinkable: A (somehow still) practicing Christian who was actually going to openly denounce all of the abhorrent atrocities carried out by God in the Bible… MINUS the typical cringe-inducing tap-dance of smoke and mirrors I’d grown accustomed to!… Dude, you almost made it. You were right there… until you weren’t.
Your words: “When we approach Scripture this way, we can agree with the Atheists about the moral repugnance of these violent texts, but then turn around and say that the reason God inspired these texts to be written in Scripture is not to justify such behavior and actions, but to challenge us to not do such things ourselves.”
I suppose congratulations are in order. After all, you’ve clearly outsmarted God. You’ve found a way to both agree with atheists AND defend your “God can do no wrong” doctrine all at once! Now you can totally have your cake and eat it too, for lack of a better cliche. Of course, with no permission from your God to do so, you kinda did take it upon yourself to invoke authority to assign a laughably illogical filter to God’s scripture in an effort to make him a bit more “presentable”. A warm, fuzzy filter that, by your logic, shines a rainbow-colored light on a God who still very much condones rape, slavery, misogyny, incest, sadism, genocide, infanticide, etc., but does so only as a way of teaching us how NOT to be. My dude… What kind of cherries did you have to pick from your Bible in order to arrive at this adorably fallacious position?
So… question… Now that you’ve introduced your new and improved God-colored glasses for us to wear as we navigate page after blood-soaked page of the Bible, am I to assume we should all start murdering/stealing/and adulterizing to our hearts content? I mean, ya know, seeing as how you’ve just conveniently invoked the sacred law of “Opposite Day” as God’s most sensible path to redemption in the eyes of the conflicted Christian. Just curious how that whole dynamic is supposed to play out….. Also just being a dick. Apologies.
I realize I’ve been applying my sarcasm in annoyingly gratuitous proportions, I’m just trying to highlight your silliness with a bit of my own. I have no doubt your intentions are benign here. That “faith” of yours is simply doing exactly what it does best: ensuring those blinders remain tightly fastened to your eyes and the gag firmly secured around your mouth. The funny thing is, for most of your blog here, you clearly demonstrate your ability to see the Bible for what it is. And you rightfully condemn it at (almost) every turn!
It’s like you’re right there, man. All you gotta do now is learn how to ignore that pesky urge compelling you to somehow try and reconcile the Holy Bible with itself. I assure you there’s absolutely no method of reconciliation that does not require EXTREME liberties be taken with the interpretation of the most fundamental tenets of your religion’s sacred book, as you’ve clearly demonstrated. But you’re not really trying to reconcile the Bible with itself, are you? I’d wager you’re actually trying to reconcile the Bible with your own morality. Everything inside of you knows how morally wrong this psychopathic star of the Bible is, yet you’ve been told repeatedly since childhood, by people you trusted more than anyone, no doubt, that you’re supposed to love, worship and obey this make-believe monster who is incapable of error in the slightest. I’m not without sympathy for your position. I mean that.
If you’ve made it this far, then you have my gratitude for your time. Again, I agree with virtually EVERYTHING in this blog. It’s only your whole reason for writing it that we disagree, I guess. Haha.
Before I peace out, I’d just like to encourage you to consider the thousands of religions that exist today, all claiming, with equal conviction, to be the one undeniable and absolute truth of the Universe. Consider that, then try and seriously ask yourself why it is you’re so confident that yours is the real truth and everyone else is “lost” or whatever. Ask yourself why it is that virtually all practicing theists end up following the same religion as their parents. Ask yourself why most of them were taught their particular doctrine at an age so tender and delicate, the very concept of questioning Mommy and Daddy had not even occurred to them yet. Haven’t you ever noticed how much effort and resources the church dedicates to various “Get’em while they’re young” projects? It’s shameful, honestly.
Now it’s not my intention to label folks like you or most other theists “bad people” by any stretch of the imagination. I truly hope I’m not coming off that way. My gripe is with religion itself. It is, at its very foundation, a poison so effective that it can corrupt the kindest and brightest among us. with just a few empty promises of everlasting life expressed in such a way that compels a lot of inherently decent folk to behave in disgusting ways. Religious indoctrination is a surprisingly difficult condition for our species to break free of, especially when we’re indoctrinated as children who barely even possess a theory of mind, let alone the mental capacity required to ponder the nature of reality and ask questions.
Ask yourself why it’s so absurd to consider Freud’s idea that religion is likely a common side-effect of being aware of your own inevitable demise? Sounds perfectly reasonable to me. Being alive is the only thing any of us have ever known. It’s quite literally our favorite thing. Living. So how do we come to terms with the knowledge that we’re only alive for a short while? Simple. We don’t.
We invoke blind faith in the super natural in hopes that it will provide just enough blissful ignorance to stave off that obnoxious elephant in the room called reality just a bit longer. Well, I agree that ignorance can indeed seem blissful at times, but it can’t possibly be so sweet as to compel us to sacrifice the very thing that sets us apart from every other species that has ever lived on this world. The very characteristic that’s allowed us to reach for the stars, cure diseases, explore the quantum and peer into the black hole. It’s that “annoying” trait of ours responsible for shaping our morality; forcing us to finally acknowledge, during a time not so long ago, that abhorrent traditions such as slavery, misogyny, and even theocracy were not only morally wrong, but downright counter-intuitive to prosperity. (Seriously show me a theocracy that’s prospered… like ever). Were it not for this completely unique and quirky trait present within virtually all of us, we would almost certainly never have even made it out of the trees.
This ultimate super power that has compelled our species to reach out from our tiny, insignificant speck of dust and claim the very keys to the cosmos for ourselves, is a power we all likely take for granted every day of our lives. It is our unique ability… to question. Our innate urge to question everything relentlessly until we find an answer, then question the answer until we’re satisfied with it’s viability as an objective truth. From the moment we first manifest a theory of mind as toddlers, for as long as our minds continue to function, this inexplicable thirst for answers is never truly quenched. It’s this single, solitary feature, completely unique to us, that I believe represents the most awe-inspiring and magnificent culmination of nature we’ve ever observed: The natural arrangement of atoms, over a time-span of billions of years, in such a way that allows nature to contemplate it’s own existence… Take a moment to absorb that.
We are quite literally the universe, manifested in such a way as to observe itself. We do not have faith in this. We know this. You and everything that has ever lived are composed almost completely of literal star dust. Almost every atom in your body was initially cooked inside the center of some star from some time and place within the Universe. We do not have faith in this. We know this. We know lots of cool things because we’re always asking questions. We can demonstrate these concepts using the tried and true scientific method. We’ve no need to invoke talking donkeys, burning bushes, or maniacal deities in order to justify our claims. You’d be surprised at the lack of attention you’d give to the super natural when you possess a simple, fundamental understanding of the marvelous capabilities of the natural.
I’m of the opinion that the best thing anyone of us can possibly do for ourselves is to indulge our hunger for knowledge that makes us question everyone and everything. You know, that same hunger God buried inside of us when he created man in his image? Then cursed us for indulging in? Then ultimately sent his son to threaten us with not only earthly torture, but everlasting torture as an added punishment for the crime of questioning anything in the Bible. The most incredible thing about you is literally forbidden by your God. Just chew on that for a bit.
Regarding faith in general, well, I find absolutely no use for it. Faith is belief in something you cannot justify in any reasonable way. It’s the illogical belief in the cosmic teapot, flying spaghetti monster, flat earth, God, what have you. If you can find a way to reasonably justify any logical use for faith that doesn’t come off a page in your Bible, I’m all ears. Otherwise I’ll thank you again for your time, and I’ll apologize for my occasional rude displays of pretentious jackassery peppered throughout my comment. I wish you nothing but the best.
there is a lot of incorrect translations of the bible. rember sometimes text is translated by a difference between mother language and learned language. in this case the translator have to make some guesses to reconstruct meaning. every time a text is transelated, mistakes is incorporated because detail are being lost in translation. i give exampe. what may have meant castle is transelated as fortress or wall. at this point meaning is getting lost. the old testament is full of these errors in translation. it does not mean that the scripture was originally wrong but have deteriorated over time by rewriting or transelated from one language to the next.
i saw a example of this. a version of the bible was written for kids and the result was a oversimplification where all the remaining detail in the bible were completly removed and gave a totally wrong version, almost nonsensial to read. ther were big gaps between the writings where information of the true reasons for the writing had been ignored.
there are errors in the bible but not errors of the original writings but errors of added on laters or words removed as it had no meaning in context when read wrong.
the old testament is not what christians believes in about a loving god. christianity is literally the book of the new testament and only the new testament. the old testament is the ancient jewish bible. anyway acording to the new testament, god changed and became loving and fair.
the jewish does not recognize the new testament and only see the old testament as the word of god. they do not believe in jesus.
Aidan McLaughlin says
Isaiah 45:7 King James Version (KJV)
7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things.
Mike Price says
Interesting read. As a former devout Lutheran (who is gay and now identifies as pagan) each of these verses and many more, were troubling when I was practicing. Your idea that God’s intent when he inspired the authors was to point out human failings I have not heard or considered.
Ok, except that #3 is just #1 with an apologist’s flare. What you are saying is that if the bible tells you to be good and kind to others, that is the true and inerrant word of god, and whenever it condones rape, savagery, and even genocide, well, that is a little trick god is pulling where he is pretending to be an evil bigoted savage so that we will know that really it is we who are these horrible, sinful, broken things. I mean sure, I get the idea, but unless god threw in a “;)” at the end of these verses in the original texts, then this is CLEARLY not the case. The simple truth is these collections of tales were written by people in a time when we were a more primitive and savage people, and these sorts of things were totally fine to do. I think you know this, and you are being dishonest. Whether god is there or not, “his” book was written and rewritten by fallible men who were from a different time. What you are suggesting is just more cherry picking where you take the good stuff as the brilliant teachings of a perfect god, and kind of turn your head and cough as you read over the parts that show the other side. Trying to find ways to make the bible fit your ideal views AND keep holding it up as the inerrant word of god is a fool’s errand and just forces you to be either deliberately dishonest or willfully ignorant. Honesty is a better path to tread, but I guess that doesn’t sell books to Christians.
As an Atheist, I don’t agree with the redeeming scriptures and making it cancel out the old ones that are still in there and will continue to be there. Who you have to worry about are the ignorant Christians who will continue to use the bible to support their prejudice and bad actions because they think they did right by what the bible says. I did enjoy reading your articles. Thank you,
You seem really in denial and are grasping at straws to defend your faith. An all knowing God who didn’t want to be misunderstood never would have let men mistake his own holy book. By defending God by saying they are textual errors and God didn’t mean it is like saying God isn’t all knowing and he lets his own word be confused and then confuse those searching for him.
Just because the Bible is wrong doesn’t mean a God doesn’t exist. The God of the Bible simply doesn’t hold up under investigation
How pray tell does one resolve these “atheist making“ verses The Bible? According to Scripture, God is the creator of heaven, earth, the sea, and ALL that is in them. The magic word here is “ALL“ (emphasis mine). I believe the solution lies in humanity having a correct understanding of the true NON-definition of God!
Elisa Donavan says
If your argument is that the bible contains human errors, then it leaves the whole book up for interpretations and scrutiny. Either it is the word of god: all of it or none of it. A god cannot be all powerful, all knowing, and ever present and allow any of the stories in the bible to be true. And if they are all true, then he is not all knowing, all powerful, or ever present.
As a basis of rational argument, one cannot use 1 book to justify all answers and always “reinterpret” the same content which is most likely full of translational errors, group biases, erroneous beginnings, multiple authors over hundreds of years with suppression of other authorships because they did not fit the narrative in early CE.
And all of this is mute when we bring in science from the last 400-500 years.
It would serve religions better to acknowledge themselves as a spiritual philosophy rather than a objective truth. Otherwise you are just continuing a lie.
not all people go to heaven, true christians are grounded in there faith, and not buy into this hogwash. try reading your bible again, satan uses all sorts of deception ,put on the full armour of god,so you dont get duped. if truly seeking god you will find.
peg camper says
I have been having a conversation with a Christian regarding events described in the Bible that proved true many years later. For instance, in the book of Job it mentions “the sea of springs”. Evidently, in 1970, researchers discovered these “sea of springs”. So, the Christians are saying how could these people thousands and thousands of years ago know about this “sea of springs”. Thank you for your kind reply.
Hi Jeremy, I loved your article, and sense of humor. The best book I’ve ever found that addresses the question you raise of how to reconcile plainly hateful and evil verses in the Bible with the idea that the entire Bible is the inspired word of God, is a book called “Making sense of the Bible”, by United Methodist minister Adam Hamilton. I can’t recommend that book highly enough, essentially he arrives at some variation of explanation #2, but does so providing a depth of archeological and historical insight that I’ve never seen before, while explaining with the same objectivity why he believes the accounts given of Jesus in the gospels and why he believes that Jesus must be the filter that we put all notions of God through, rather than violent angry old men in the Old Testament claiming to speak for God.
Nonya Business says
It is not necessarily a sin to fight. If it’s just a fist fight let it alone. If somebody ANYBODY man or woman tries to do harm to my genitals I will probably kill them. They’ll be lucky if I let them get away alive with a serious injury. You do not mess with someone’s genitals unless they are trying to rape kill or kidnap you. Next time some feminazi tries to do some stupid shit to a men that’s what she gets.
Nonya Business says
Slaves were to be set free every 7 years When there was a jubilee year all debts were cancelled. The vast majority of the time people were slaves because of debt they owed to someone when either the debt was paid or the jubilee came they were forgiven slaves debt slaves and prisoner were set free. Also every 50 years was a special jubilee where sins debts and trespasses were forgiven slaves and prisoners were freed.
First, you’re speaking about Exodus 21 which were the rules for Israelite slaves, whereas Leviticus 25 sets the rules for obtaining slaves from the nations around Israel who could be passed down to their children as property and they will be slaves FOR LIFE! Second, not all Slaves were to be set free, again there were different rules for male and female slaves who were not required to be set free. Third, okay then, let’s pretend that Jubilee happens next year and I was in the mood to obtain a 10-year old male slave. If I buy him now then next year I’ll have to set him free, or I can simply wait until he turns 11 then I get him for the next 50 years.
Finally, you do realize that you are disbanding your humanity as you attempt to justify the owning of people as property?
Nonya Business says
Come on guys and girls grow a spine. God has been very hard on me my whole life but he has shown me the horrible truth about the world about people and about myself of course slaves shouldn’t be beaten to death even if they die 3 days later God will deal with them who are responsible.
Nonya Business says
I am a TRUE BELIEVER not a Christian not a churchian I’m not Protestant Catholic orthadox messianic or Coptic. I don’t follow any man or preacher. I follow Jesus/Yahushua He is God and the Holy Spirit teaches me. Of course I am being censored. If you keep censoring me then you are suppressing the truth and it proves me right. Did you know cuss words are in scripture and Yah uses strong language sometimes.
Bastard 3 times in Deuteronomy 23:2, Zechariah 9:6 and Hebrews 12:8.
Ass is in there about 60 times or more. I’m not listing every single reference for that one.
Piss in there 8 times 1 Samuel 25:28, 1 Samuel 25:34, 1 kings 14:10, 1 kings 16:11, 1 kings 21:21, 2 kings 9:8
2 kings 18:27 and Isaiah 36:12.
Dung or dung hill means shit or shithill it’s in there 34 times. Dung was slang and was considered profanity. Whore and hell are all over the Bible. Profanity sometimes isn’t a sin. Many words have been wrongly labeled profanity over time. YOU KNOW IM RIGHT.
In Matthew and Mark
Jesus basically called the Canaanite woman a bitch which is a female dog.
He called a lot of people dogs.
But go ahead and censor me it just means I’m telling the truth and you are suppressing it.
Gordon Holley says
“Do they have an inspection station?”
Well, yes, they did. Everytime you entered the temple grounds you were baptized naked first. Conservative Jews still baptize before entering Synagogue. John the Baptist did this as a prophesy of doom against the Temple. He was readying them to be in the presence of God with the One Baptism for when the veil is torn. John the Baptist, being the last rightful Cohen fulfilled the priesthood when he baptized Jesus using the Jordan as his perrsonal Mikhvah. They inspected you for sores and damaged junk before you could enter while this was done.
I am Christian and to be honest, I really cannot agree to a lot of the God ordained violence in the Bible. However, either God is sovereign or not. If He is, then God can do whatever He wants to do.
I would never say, I understand everything in the Bible, but why would I ? How could I possibly put myself on the level of God.
Honestly the verse that made me an atheist was 1 Peter 3:15 “…always be prepared to give anyone who asks you to justify the reasoning for the faith that you have, but do this with kindness and respect.”
I then took an “Outsider’s test for faith” and concluded that my original epistemological methods of evaluating my beliefs were flawed and full of fallacies: Circular reasoning “The bible’s true because it says it’s true”, god of the gaps “we don’t know how this happened, therefore god did it”, argument ad populum “but there are billions of people who believe in god”, argument from emotion “But I feel it in my heart” says every Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, and any other religion.
Once I actually looked at the evidence I was no longer convinced that the evidence supports a god. A god which is not demonstrable is indistinguishable from one which doesn’t exist.
This was a good article. Until the 3rd reason you suggest others to use to defend these scriptures. It sounds like a cop out. Your saying theyre in scripture to show believers not to do these things. I suggest you go back over each scripture and think why was this worded this way if its to show us not to do these things. Such as the one about not having bodily flaws to enter the vail or heaven. If they cant go around prophets can they go to heaven? How does this show believers not do to these things. Like what your saying is its written because god doesnt want believers to be blind, have eczema, deformed limbs? This excuse doesnt match some of these verses. So i suggest a 4th option of how to deal with these verses.
Call them as they are WORDS OF MERE MEN. Not inspired by any god.
I believed over 30 yrs. Once i accepted this fact that no loving god would or should write such evil things. If it made it in his so called holy scriptures then he allowed it. Surely hes powerful enough to to have stopped it. Therefore he condones such atrocities.
So its either he condones the words in the book since he allowed them there. Or these are the words of regular men and we’ve all been deceived. I have accepted these are just the words of men saying that these are words inspired by a god. After being a believer over 30 yrs. Took me 4 yrs to accept this. Now im very happy with this conclusion. Cant believe i read thise words when i was a believer and just accepted them as true words of god. Only when i allowed myself to think……What if its not. Then THE CHRISTIAN BLUBLOCKERS WERE REMOVED AND NOW I SEE IT FOR WHAT IT REALLY IS. THE WORDS OF MERE MEN.
Nick Young says
I understand your point of view, but as you and I didn’t live at that time, we don’t know what life exactly was like. The Bible does say that mankind had become so wicked in the days of Noah that God couldn’t find any other families , apart from Noah’s , that were righteous. So God sent the flood, and there is a lot of geological and scientific evidence to support it. In 18th century England, there was a period when someone stealing a loaf of bread could be hanged. Barbaric as that seems, the stealing epidemic grew to such large proportions that the government panicked. If you’re saying that God’s judgements in the Old Testament are unacceptable, you are undermining the whole of the Bible, you’re saying some of God’s word is good and some is bad. The conclusion of that is that you interpret the Bible from a modern perspective, not from God’s eternal perspective. The Jews having slaves is not a pleasant subject, but it’s known from archaeology and Biblical accounts, that some races at that time sacrificed their children in the temple fire to the God Moloch. Other races are believed to have practised bestiality. Ultimately the Jews failed to live as God intended, and that is why Israel was divided into two countries, Israel and Judah, and eventually disappeared map – wise , although not nation – wise, all together. We are all sinners, and actually none of us have any right to be here at all, because we don’t match up as we are corrupted by sin. The only perfect person who ever lived was Jesus, and He told His hearers he was around before Abraham; so He must have known what was going on in the Old Testament. One can’t comprehend Jesus without comprehending God; but God is still a mystery, and no doubt one day He will reveal to us why He acted the way He did in the Old testament. I think we have to not necessarily understand these things, or even defend or criticize them, but we need faith, the hope of things unseen, until the day when all is revealed.
I find that final explanation of how to deal with these problems as a Christian to be confusing and lacking in cogency. How are the purpose of these verses to reveal human error and condemn us, when it is in each case God either commanding or permitting such things?
We couldn’t blame Elisha for cursing the 40-odd youth; his word has no power of itself. It was God who sent the bears to kill them. It was God who lay down the Levitical law, saying defects couldn’t enter into worship; God who instituted the legal systems surrounding slavery and sex trafficking.
I don’t see how response 3 really deals with the problem.
Nobody important, I assure you. says
Surprised you didn’t include Numbers 31:15-18. Even in the original Hebrew, it openly states that you can take female children from your country’s enemies and use them as a sex slave, as long as they’re virgins.
I as an atheist totally don’t mind if someone believes in the christian God, but when you guys act like you’re morally superior when you harass and abuse LGBT people, it genuinely makes me angry. Don’t use your book to justify your hatred. Follow Jesus’ example and use your book to justify your love. Jesus was actually a pretty cool dude.
William Benson says
God is bigger than your analysis. God told Abraham to kill his son and Abraham was willing to do it. Do either of these facts make either God or Abraham bad, evil, wrong?
If you are not encouraging people to acknowledge God’s right to be the authority in their lives, you are worse than an infidel. I am thankful we live in a day of grace where such demands are not made of us. But we are all spirits, we live and operate in the flesh but what we are is spirit. Spirit that either wants to elevate the temporary mortal coil, or elevate the high purpose given us by God. God can change his demands at different junctures in humanity’s existence. In the end he is judging obedience and reverence.
The simplest answer is often the best. That the old testament is no longer God’s blueprint for either the individual or society, because the fullness of time came in which Jesus’s life, teachings, and commandments tell us how to live and love fully.
I wouldn’t waste breath or type font defending the old testament or praising how people satisfied God’s demands that we can’t possibly interpret in our time. But I can praise men and women who were told by God what to do, and did it.