The Mutt’s Nuts

Where religion is about as attractive as a two week holiday in Afghanistan

Posts Tagged ‘cruelty

A pig’s ear of an argument

with 15 comments

Edit: Some of this post is no longer relevant as the person in question has since changed his blog entry.

Yesterday, Twelve of the Broken Microwave blog wrote about a recent “argument” that he was engaged in with an atheist. (Actually, it was two atheists, but I just want to concentrate on what he said to the alleged less experienced atheist.) Suspiciously, Twelve neglected to link to wherever it was that the said argument had taken place, thus not allowing anybody to see the argument in context.

The atheist is quoted as having said:

Did you know Jesus in the bible killed a herd of pigs? Really. He really did. So much for Gentle Jesus! Matthew 8:32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, the devils went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.

That makes Jesus nastier than the average person. He could have found a much kinder way of doing this. Jesus shows by this one act that he was immoral.

According to Twelve, the atheist was wrong and guilty of doing “no research” when he claimed that Jesus had killed a herd of pigs and when he concluded that this one act caused Jesus to appear quite nasty, not at all kind and without scruples.

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A sensible reading of the scriptural verses in question shows that Jesus was indeed culpable in the deaths of the Gadarene swine. There’s just no getting around that, unless you’re a Christian who thinks that God can do no wrong. After all, who was it who permitted the devils to enter the herd of pigs that were feeding nearby? Jesus. The devils sought his permission and he gave it.

Although this is a case of animal cruelty, my main problem with this story is Jesus’s apparent indifference towards the owner of the pigs whose livelihood had perished in the sea and the swineherds who had suddenly found themselves redundant. The latter – upon seeing Jesus’s dubious moral character – fled into the city and told the people about what had happened, to which the “whole city” came out to meet with Jesus and “besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.” Can you blame them? Whose livelihood would be next on the chopping block?

There’s no indication that Jesus offered any recompense to the owner or his employees for the disaster that had befallen them. I concur with what the atheist concluded from this story. Jesus does seem to have an unlikeable side to him. You’d think that as an omnipotent being he could have thought of a better way of dealing with the devils, without impacting adversely on the lives of innocent people.

Twelve responded to the atheist by suddenly talking about a totally different time and situation – the tenth plague that was inflicted upon Egypt by an ever-loving God. I was confused by the jump. After quoting the atheist on his blog, Twelve said, simply:

This just screams, “No research!” so I replied with this:

I concluded that Twelve had left out certain pertinent parts of his argument with the atheist, for reasons that I can only guess at. I couldn’t help but wonder if he was being deliberately vague for some reason and, if so, that might very well explain why he hadn’t linked to where the argument had taken place.

Anyway, the first sentence of Twelve’s reply clearly showed that more had gone on between what the atheist had said and his response to it:

observingworld [the atheist], I know the firstborns didn’t do anything, but Pharaoh was the one who decided the fate of those animals and children, not God. God gave Pharaoh a choice, and he chose to have all of the firstborns killed. That’s not God’s fault. If the cattle died, that’s Pharaoh’s decision. No matter how unfair it was for the firstborns to die for Pharaoh’s mistake, the blame doesn’t fall on God, but Pharaoh.

This appears to be to a response to something else that was said and not to what had been initially said. Twelve seems to be rather disingenuous.

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Anyway, I’m continually flabbergasted by Christians like Twelve who try to make a silk purse out of any story from the Bible, no matter how much of a sow’s ear it really is when you discard the believer’s bias.

Notwithstanding that God had hardened the heart of Pharaoh against giving in to his demands, there’s still no way that Pharaoh was to blame for the death of “all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast”, which resulted in there being not a house where there would not be somebody dead. The holy plague touched every Egyptian family. And, who knows, maybe if God hadn’t messed around with Pharaoh’s heart, this tragedy might never have happened. It’s almost as if God wanted the opportunity to slaughter thousands of people to demonstrate his power.

Imagine that an Islamic hijacker had taken control of an American aeroplane and was demanding that the government release all of the prisoners from Guantanamo Bay or he would blow up the plane on the orders of Allah with all the innocent passengers on board. The US president refused to capitulate and so the hijacker carried out his threat. Is this scenario any different than the dilemma that faced Pharaoh? The central issue in both situations is the use of blackmail as a motivating force in achieving a certain aim, where the lives of innocent people are used as bargaining tools. How moral is that?

And as a leopard cannot change his spots, so God is continuing to blackmail people into heaven in this day and age. He’s still the monster he’s always been, as is abundantly evident in the Bible, threatening everlasting punishment on those who don’t submit to his demands of obedience.

Curmudgeonly Yours

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Written by Curmudgeonly

November 25, 2007 at 4:44 pm

De-bunking God

with 26 comments

In a recent comment on another post, Twelve asked me to explain my statement that “the Christian god had been debunked in my mind”. As it required quite a lengthy reply, I decided to answer his question in the form of a new post.

In the process of leaving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I developed the ability to critically examine my beliefs for the first time. Following my deconversion from Mormonism, I found that I was better able to look at every aspect of belief, including God, more objectively.

I had always been taught that God was kind, loving and good. However, the Bible does not bear this out. In the Old Testament especially, God is portrayed as a jealous, paranoid, murdering bully. God demands that humans worship no-one but him. He is wrathful and brings all kinds of horrible plagues upon people. He orders the slaughter of innocent men, women, children and babies. He drowns every single human being and animal that he ever created and saves only one family and a male and female sample of each creature. He devises cruel tests, such as commanding a man to kill his own son to prove his loyalty. He condones lying, deceit and slavery. In the story of Lot, he saves a man who willingly offered to provide his two virgin daughters to be raped by an angry mob.

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The New Testament God, in the person of Jesus, tells everyone that they should hate their parents (contradicting one of the 10 commandments which demands that parents should be honoured). He treats his own mother disrespectfully. He apparently thinks that it’s okay to consign people to a fiery pit to be tortured forever, just for not believing in him, because he repeats it over and over again. He is verbally abusive to his disciples and to the religious leaders of his day.

It amazes me now that I had never picked up on these ugly aspects of the loving, sympathetic, gentle God that I had been taught to believe in.

When I looked around at what was happening in the world today, I wondered where was the deity who intervened so regularly in the affairs of his people several thousand years ago? The God who led his people out of captivity in Egypt left them to die in their millions in the gas chambers of Nazi Germany. The God who claimed that not even a sparrow fell to the earth unnoticed seemed to be unaware of the Rwandan genocide. The Bible tells of Jesus raising a child from the dead in answer to the pleadings of her mother, yet countless children have died of starvation and disease in Africa with no kindly God to either ease their suffering or return them fit and well to their grieving families. But then, maybe that is perfectly in keeping with the Biblical God – the God who commands the murder of innocent babes, punishes viciously for perceived slights or offences and turns his own mother away when she tries to see him.

The more I looked at the reality of God’s behaviour, his clear disinterest in the affairs of the weakest and most helpless of his creations, the confusion surrounding competing Christian religions all claiming him as their deity which he does nothing to clarify, and the appalling cruelty that has taken place in his name throughout the centuries which he has refused, or perhaps been unable, to curtail, I decided that I could not in all good conscience bow the knee to such a being. I was sure that, if God was all knowing, all powerful and all good, then the circumstances that I have outlined would not have taken place. I read the excuses that believers made for God’s decisions and actions, but none of them were at all credible. I realised that most ordinary people, myself included, were simply more moral than God. We would not countenance the kinds of behaviour that God apparently endorses. We would act where God stands aloof. We would seek to comfort in situations from which God has withdrawn.

Finally, the only conclusion I could draw was that the Christian God just does not exist. If he did, he would behave very differently from the way that is documented so graphically in the Bible and in the lives of millions of unfortunate people living on the earth today. I’m thankful that such an imposter does not exist and grateful for the mere human beings – both believers and non-believers – who are real examples of bravery, selflessness, kindness and compassion in this world. I believe in people, not God.

IslaSkye

Written by islaskye

November 11, 2007 at 10:47 am