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Feb 18 2014

The 12 worst things Yahweh did

Rob Bricken has combed through the Bible and come up with a list (yes, another listicle!) with the ten worst things that the Judeo-Christian god has done, things that seem to have been driven mostly by sheer spite unbecoming of a supposedly all-powerful deity. As Bricken begins, “Before Jesus arrived and his divine father chilled out, the Old Testament God was, ironically, kind of a hellraiser. He was not a nice guy. He really liked killing people. And he may have actually been insane.”

I guess Yahweh is the ultimate example of the saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely

What makes this particular list worth reading is the context and commentary the Bricken provides for each item. Most of the items will be familiar to readers of this blog but there were some that were new to me.

For example, item #3 where we learn that god hates ugly people and since I fit into one of those categories that god specifies that he dislikes, it looks like the piety of my early days was totally wasted. I was toast from the beginning.

Also #4 where it appears that old Yahweh wanted to bump off Moses (or maybe, being omniscient and all, he looked into the future and did not like Charlton Heston).

And #9, where Samson murders people over a bet.

And #11, where Yahweh got into a snit (it seems like he was always getting into a snit about every trivial thing) and kills off a bunch of Israelites during the exodus.

It is a fun read.

12 comments

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  1. 1
    Crimson Clupeidae

    I think the Book of Job better be on that list…..

  2. 2
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Yahweh didn’t have absolute power in the OT. It wasn’t until Hellenisation came along and tricked him out with the attributes of the Good/One of the Greek philosophers that that changed.

  3. 3
    busterggi

    RE: Ibis3 – excuses, excuses.

  4. 4
    sigurd jorsalfar

    The comments under that article are a hoot, all the way from the standard ‘God just seems like an asshole to us pathetic humans, but he has his reasons and believe me they are good ones, even though I don’t know what they are any more than you do, because I just know god is good even though he does things that would be evil if a human did them, and does them to a spectacular degree,’ to ‘You have offended me, sir! And I speak for billions when I say this. How dare you point out what a genocidal piece of shit my god is. Have you no shame?’ Shame being an important quality for a human, but a non-existent one for Yahweh.

  5. 5
    ahcuah

    One thing that was left out of the item about the plagues was that, after each plague, the Pharaoh gave up and wanted to let Moses go. But then Yahweh used his mind-control mojo to harden the heart of the Pharaoh, just so Yahweh could fuck him over yet again with the next plague. Way to go, Yahweh!

  6. 6
    DsylexicHippo

    I guess I am in the Ugly People category as well since I wear glasses (“people with bad eyes”). Or is that exclusively reserved for those occasions when I forget to wear them since wearing them is corrective in purpose? Didn’t know getting in and out of his shit list could be that easy.

  7. 7
    Chiroptera

    Good list. #1 has always been my favorite as well since everything is better with bears. Just think how the flood story could have been better:

    “Noah, build an ark that is a huge stone castle, for I will flood the earth WITH BEARS! And you’d better bring two of every animal that isn’t a bear.”

    -

    I’ve always had a soft spot for #10 as well. And I have to admit, that is always how I’ve read Job, too!

  8. 8
    Al Dente

    Lord Acton’s famous saying comes to mind:

    Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    According to the propaganda Yahweh is all-powerful.

  9. 9
    Pierce R. Butler

    Before Jesus arrived and his divine father chilled out…

    Mandating the blood sacrifice of one’s youngest son, introducing the 24/365 Lake o’ Fireā„¢ for all dissidents for all time, and promising to come back in the reanimated corpse of said son and hack people with a sword until the blood flows like rivers?

    That’s a lot more than a few bong hits short of “chilling out” by my measure.

  10. 10
    urmensch

    I can’t remember where I read it, but there was one interpretation of #4 which thought it was possibly a mythologised tribal memory of the change from actual human sacrifice, to symbolic sacrifice. A kind of pars pro toto, but literally not figuratively.

    I do remember it mentioned the fact that Moses wife, Zipporah, had the name of a goddess, and that it might have been the giving up of actual sacrifice as a condition of tribal alliance. The whole flint knife part was significant ritually. This of course all happened during the polytheistic pre-history of the Jews.
    I can’t remember any moreof it, but it stuck with me.

  11. 11
    Marcus Ranum

    #1: create evil
    #2: not remove evil
    #3

    are we done here?

  12. 12
    lpetrich

    That story of Elisha and the bears seems to me like it was invented by some priest who had gotten tired of being teased about his baldness. But why not chase those kids away instead of killing them?

    There is another bit of divine dickishness. God’s reaction to King David’s census of Israel (2 Samuel 24). God gives him a choice of 7 years of famine, 3 months of being chased by his enemies, and 3 days of plague. He settles for the plague. Even worse, God made David do that because he was pissed at Israel for something or other. Sort of like his hardening Pharaoh’s heart.

    One can certainly find scandals from other religions. Greek mythology has plenty of divine dickishness, for instance.

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