One of the more bizarre aspects of Christian belief is the way it turns fundamental concepts like love and goodness completely inside out, to the evidently enthusiastic support of the faithful. I have been in an on-again, off-again discussion with a Christian called SuperFlyingNick on YouTube, and here he makes the following case for God’s love. Does any of this strike you as internally contradictory and self-refuting?
I am not surprised that you feel that my God is made up in the minds of men. I’ve heard plenty of people say that.
And I understand that the Bible says God made man in His own image. However, the characteristics you described to me are very unique to God. I’m not saying that humans can’t be loving and so forth, but God’s love is genuine and unfailing – something humans will never posses. God is jealous because he doesn’t want you to have any other gods before him (he wants your attention). His mercy is the fruit of his love, and his anger goes along with his jealousy and how humans can be disobedient.
If you really think about it, God’s characteristics are pure and genuine.
And I respond:
I confess to being utterly baffled at the way in which Christians are willing to accept jealous anger as some sort of indicator of “genuine, unfailing love.” Is it truly the benchmark of “genuine” love that it comes with a jealousy and possessiveness that erupts into anger if the love is not returned? I cannot for the life of me think so. This is more like the love of an abusive spouse. If a man told a woman, “Honey, I love you, but so help me, if I ever see you so much as look at another man, I’ll break your neck,” most people would not consider that any kind of love, least of all “genuine” and “unfailing,” and indeed they would do all they could to convince the woman in question to leave that man as fast as possible. But when their God essentially behaves the same way, erupting with jealous wrath and consigning people to eternal torment for failing to reciprocate his “love”, Christians seem to think this is all A-OK. One rule for people, another for your God, apparently.
I cannot see any reason to declare my allegiance to anyone — deity or otherwise — simply because not to do so means they’ll be angry with me and hurt me. For one thing, on God’s part, that isn’t love, merely power and control, and on my part, it wouldn’t be love either, merely fear. That Christianity has persuaded millions of its followers to be convinced that power, control and fear are all examples of “loving” behavior is deeply disturbing, as they really distort what love really means out of all recognition. Doing something because you fear being hurt otherwise is known as terrorism.
In any case, it makes no sense that, if God is — as Christians describe — a “perfect” being, that any lack of attention or obedience from me or anyone else could matter to it at all. For God to be perfect means that there is nothing you could possibly add to him to improve him in any way, nor is there anything you could deny him that would damage that perfection. No perfect divine being would care what I felt about him any more than I would care what the ants crawling on my windowsill think about me. For God to be described as perfect on one hand, and jealous, angry and wrathful on the other is an oxymoron. And anything that contradicts itself cannot exist.
PS: This is the AE blog’s 500th post. Yee!