Disparities redux: the face of today »« Divine Law

Movie Friday: What God Said

I don’t really understand why it is that people can say the most evil things imaginable and have it excused as long as they claim divine warrant. You can call for genocide, rape, murder, mutilation, and condemn people as freely as you like, provided you are a man or woman “of God”.

The problem is that God is simply a reflection of what is inside us. When someone says “God hates fags”, they are saying “I hate fags”. When they say “the word of God says that a woman is the property of a man”, they mean “I don’t see women as human beings.” When they say “God wants us to have sex through a sheet with special underwear”, they’re saying… well actually I have no clue where that one comes from.

The remarkable thing isn’t that people will project their inner hatreds and mental problems onto a fictitious third party. That’s actually a fairly normal human quirk. The remarkable thing is that people actually listen to these clowns who claim to speak for the Almighty. If He really was almighty (assuming He even exists, which He doesn’t), he could speak unequivocally for himself; He wouldn’t need to go through puny, fallible, easily-duped humans.

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  1. grassrute says

    “You can call for genocide, rape, murder, mutilation, and condemn people as freely as you like, provided you are a man or woman ‘of God’” The irony, of course, is that if people were doing what God said, they would love their neighbour. But as you pointed out, all this evil is “actually a fairly normal human quirk.”
    God = Good
    People = Bad

  2. says

    Much like the Bible, that’s a tragic mistranslation.

    God (as entity) = non-existent
    God (as concept) = dangerous, because it justifies any and all behaviour
    People = capable of good and evil in equal measure, but when evil is committed it is often done with holy self-righteousness. One rarely needs an excuse to commit acts of altruism; acts of evil almost always require rationalization, which God as concept provides amply.

  3. grassrute says

    “God (as concept) = dangerous, because it justifies any and all behaviour”
    Denying the existence of God is far more dangerous. Without God, who decides what behaviour is acceptable and what isn’t. How does an atheist define and/or determine what is “good” or “evil”? How can you forbid “genocide, rape, murder, mutilation, and (the) condemn(ation of) people as freely as you like,” if you’re an atheist?
    For Christians these things are clearly wrong:

    Genocide – Christians are commanded to love even their enemies and to do good to them.

    Rape – A man is commanded to have sexual relations *only* with his own wife

    Murder – “You shall not murder”

    Mutilation – A Christian is taught that his body is a temple of God. Cutting the body in service to another God is forbidden. Even tattoos are forbidden. (Circumcision *for men* was commanded in the Old Testament for Israel as a sign of the covenant. Not barbaric, circumcision does have some health benefits – even more so back then than it does now)

    Condemnation of people – No doubt the Bible condemns certain behaviour and even the people who practice the behaviour. Likewise Christians also condemn sinful behaviour. You’re pretty good at condemning others yourself so I don’t think you’ll have a problem with that. You may recall even hating some individuals: http://crommunist.wordpress.com/2011/03/11/movie-friday-the-american-religion/ I’m sure we can agree that condemnation of certain forms of behaviour is acceptable. The method used can go a long ways in garnering respect for the messenger. Holding a sign that says “God hates ***” or “I hate ***” is sure to stir up anger.

    People naturally hate. Remove God from the picture and the hatred is still there. Christians that hate are being disobedient to their God and the Bible. Atheists who hate are disobedient to whom?

  4. says

    Without God, who decides what behaviour is acceptable and what isn’t

    My, what a short memory you have.

    As for Christians knowing those things are wrong, you’ve time and again refused to accept the legion of times that I and others have pointed out places where your sacred text says the exact opposite of all of those things you claim your beliefs are based on. I have no interest in wasting my time revisiting the issue, since you’ve made it clear that you either haven’t read the bible or you’re just picking and choosing the parts you think are nice. In either case, it’s dishonest and foolish to wave it in front of my face as though it means anything.

    I’m sure we can agree that condemnation of certain forms of behaviour is acceptable

    I am free to judge the actions of others as an atheist, since as you point out I don’t necessarily have to believe in an absolute standard. You are not free to judge anyone, since you are a Christian. But this is also a conversation we’ve already had, and if you didn’t learn anything the last time, I’m not sure repeating myself will help matters.

    I will instead ask you a question: you’ve said before that you can judge a true Christian by his/her actions. If that is the case, then how can you tell a true Christian from, for example, a virtuous Jew or Hindu who obeys the laws of Christ but does not profess the faith? Is the only difference the fact that one preaches his/her faith in Jesus openly? Is that the reason that the Christian will go to heaven while the Jew/Hindu will suffer eternal torment in hell?

    Atheists who hate are disobedient to whom?

    And you think ‘obedience’ is a necessary human characteristic because…? Christians that hate, according to their own beliefs, are forgiven their sins by Jesus and thus there is no price to pay for disobedience. Atheists that hate, by our disbelief, are likely to be judged by their peers and will suffer those consequences in real, measurable ways (unless they manage to escape justice, in which case society is doing a shitty job and we should talk about that). I’m not sure if that’s an answer to your question, but since it was kind of a stupid question I’m not really that sorry :P

  5. says

    Oh and also what if a man rapes a woman without having sex with her? Is that okay by your moral code, since there’s nothing in the Bible about sexual battery? Because it’s not okay by my code, even despite the fact that I can’t point to a really old book as the source of my ethics.

  6. grassrute says

    So your answer is biology, philosophy, law and psychology. Awesome! That is sure to give meaning to an individual and give reason for us to be “good” – whatever good is.

    I have difficulty taking seriously the times you have pointed me to this “evil bible’ website. You say you’re not interested in wasting your time, but the website you link to is a misconstrued joke. For example, if a newspaper tells a story about murder, the paper isn’t condoning murder. Your concerns with the Bible are directed largely at the Old Testament. If you have a problem with recorded history that’s violent and exposes how evil people can behave, then I can see why you want to re-write history.

    I will agree that it’s dishonest and foolish to wave the bible in front of one’s face without a basic understanding of it, so feel free to stop doing it. Pointing to the most quoted text in the entire Bible “Judge not lest ye be judged” isn’t compelling. You’re an academic; consider the context of a text before using it. Otherwise – continue repeating yourself.

    WRT your question, I think you’re slightly misinterpreting my comment. Evil actions will expose one who claims to be a Christian but only loves him/herself. I wouldn’t claim to be able to judge whether or not an individual is saved. Following God’s laws, however, doesn’t save anyone. Adherence, rather, is the natural response to being saved.

    “…thus there is no price to pay for disobedience” au contraire, the law is still to be obeyed http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matthew%205:17%20-%2020&version=NIV and the church is commanded to discipline it’s members.

    “Oh and also what if a man rapes a woman without having sex with her?” And you accuse me of asking stupid questions and never having read the bible. If you have read the bible you may be familiar with the words “the two become one flesh.” What God has joined together is not to be separated by man. Sexual immorality is forbidden and marriage is encouraged. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20corinthians%207%20:%201%20-%209&version=NIV

    Don’t think I find no value in your initial thread. Rather, I think all Christians should read this post and understand the consequences of following evil religious leaders who claim to speak on behalf of God. It harms people, creates a breading ground for hate and causes the name of God to be mocked. It’s a good warning and I thank-you for it! My beef is the painting of all religion/faith with the same brush. Does an environmentalist who blows up pipelines represent the environmental movement? Did a god instruct someone to make this hateful video?: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/10/04/controversial-uk-ad-shows-children-workers-athletes-blown-joining-climate/
    Remove God and this shit still happens.

  7. says

    In the interest of not having this turn into a novel, I am going to omit some responses to the points you’ve raised, but please don’t interpret that as assent to your line of reasoning.

    if a newspaper tells a story about murder, the paper isn’t condoning murder.

    What a weird analogy, but let’s stick with it for a second. If a newspaper introduces me to a character that commands his followers to murder innocent people and then publishes a series of editorials espousing how wonderful, merciful, and benevolent that character is, and then warns me that if I don’t worship that character I will be punished (possibly with murder at the hands of his followers) then yes, I would say that this paper is condoning murder. The problem with those stories isn’t just that people kill others, it’s that they do so at the command of their god, and that is held up as a virtue. Yahweh shows his anger and displeasure several times to those people who refuse to obey his evil commands.

    The reason why all of the monstrous shit happens in the Old Testament is because Yahweh is pretty much an ancillary character in the NT, which is just a bunch of propaganda about how great He is. But it is only in the New Testament where we are introduced to the concept of infinite punishment for a finite crime – that alone is enough to qualify it as ethically nonsensical.

    Adherence, rather, is the natural response to being saved.

    And we’re back to the No True Scotsman fallacy. Being ‘saved’ grants you all of this moral rectitude, but the only way to know whether someone is really saved or just fake-saved is if they are morally righteous. The condition becomes non-falsifiable – all true Christians are good, therefore anyone who is bad is not a true Christian. It’s circular reasoning that by semantic trickery precludes the idea of anyone who is a Christian being bad. You wouldn’t tolerate that if I tried to use the same trickery to show how perfect Islam or Baha’i or atheism is.

    Your paragraph about sexual battery completely fails to address anything I said. Also, you’ll notice that the Biblical stricture of what to do when a man rapes a woman says nothing at all about punishing him – he has to marry her instead. Certainly you don’t believe that we should have a law forcing women to marry their rapist?

    all Christians should read this post and understand the consequences of following evil religious leaders who claim to speak on behalf of God

    Read: all religious leaders. All of them claim to speak on behalf of God, and none of them do.

    Did a god instruct someone to make this hateful video?

    And what if the author of the video had said – sworn – that in fact God did tell her to make that video? How would you determine if she is telling the truth? Yahweh has commanded his followers to commit atrocities in his name before. How can you determine whether or not that is the case this time? What mechanism could you use?

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