I recently received this response to my article Why I Quit Christianity published a few years ago (August 8, 2011). The writer identified himself as Timothy.
I really appreciate your open heart on the subject of Christianity. What exactly does that mean? Christianity was identified as the culprit during the dark ages of Catholicism trying to stamp out Protestants who opposed the “True” Church with valid arguments against her (aren’t you glad you don’t live in that era). Personally I didn’t see that as “Christian.” Your arguments against the God you understand presented in the Bible have fallacies to them. The passage you have quoted attributing God to killing the men, women, and children, and requiring His chosen people to do this immoral dastardly deed, is taking it completely out of context. These same people in the promised land were given warnings prior to that time to change their ways. Their lives were totally all about satisfying their flesh, which took on all forms such as listed in the book of Galatians in the passage of the “works of the flesh.” The Amalekites and all the other “ties” are examples to us of the flesh, and is why Paul wrote that the flesh has to die (all of it) in order for the Spirit to live. It is a brutal thing, but necessary.
Hey there Timothy,
Yes, I am very glad I don’t live in an era when Religion rules and people like me could be freely killed for the “crime” of speaking freely. But your distinction between Catholics and Protestants is fallacious because both are known to have killed people deemed heretics. Take a look at this page entitled Protestants Have Killed Many More Catholics!. You slay yourself with the sword you raise against your religious adversaries.
It’s quite ironic that you opened your defence of Biblical genocide with reference to the endless war between two of the primary sects that claim allegiance to the “Prince of Peace.” How is that different from Christians who deride Islam’s claim to be a “religion of peace” by pointing out the violence it spawns? I see no difference between any of the religions in this regard.
Your assertion that the violent slaughter of every man, woman and child was “necessary” is not true. An almighty omniscient God had many other choices. There was no need for him to command his “holy” people to become baby-killers. If he wanted the Canaanites out of the land, he could have given them a plague or just “shut up their wombs” (Genesis 20:18) or opened their minds to understand the truth or any one of ten thousand other possibilities. But no, he chose the path of violence, Violence, and more VIOLENCE. Why is the God of the Bible so enamored by violence? The Bible is blood-soaked with divine violence from beginning to end.
Your assertion that “context” explains the immorality and brutality attributed to God is not true. It doesn’t even make sense from a Biblical, let alone a moral, perspective. The children were innocent. Why were they slaughtered? And before you attempt to answer, you must ensure that your answer coheres with the opposite situation when 32,000 sexy virgins were spared from the genocide of the Midianites and distributed to the very soldiers who had just slaughtered every person they ever loved (Numbers 31). And on it goes … it is impossible to rationally defend the morality of God as presented in Scripture. Any attempt involves gross absurdities. Case in point: William Lane Craig, one of the most prominent living apologists, defended the slaughter of innocent children by saying that God did them no wrong because they all went to heaven, so that “their destruction was actually their salvation!” How he failed to see that he simultaneously justified abortion is beyond me. This is the kind of insanity that descends upon a mind devoted to defending the absurd. Another enlightening example is seen in this debate between atheist Hector Avalos and evangelist Keith Darrell. Only the atheist could assert that genocide was immoral. The Christian could not, because he knew that God had commanded it.
It seems to me that allegiance to the Bible as “God’s Word” tends to corrupt the minds and morals of believers because their doctrine forces them to deny reality and defend immorality. I have discussed this at length in my article The Art of Rationalization: A Case Study of Christian Apologist Rich Deem.
Your comment continued:
I think some have confused Christianity with religion, and it is easy to do. I believe that religion is man’s approach to God, and Christianity is God’s approach to man. This is seen in God’s instruction to Moses in building the tabernacle. God first told Moses about the Holy of Holies (the last place the priest would visit), than outward to the gate (the first place visited) Naturally, man would come to God through the gate, then advancing forward, but from God’s perspective, he started with where God dwelt. I relate to you when you point out those that have insisted on certainties that were not found certain. Those that have spoken in the name of Christ, and have been found unreliable. The scripture that says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” the word, truth IS intellectual in the original greek, not spiritual. God gave us a mind and brain to use, and He is pleased when we use it. Keep using yours, it is too precious to waste. I was once in a church that claimed to be christian, but was more cultish (not cult) in behavior. People didn’t think for themselves, when I finally left after 26 years of bondage to it, I felt real freedom. One difference between us, and I am sure there are more than one, is I didn’t leave Christianity, just this local church assembly.
Thank you for your time,
I glad you appreciate the use of the mind. I certainly will continue using mine. And on that note, I must say that I don’t find the idea that “Christianity is God’s approach to man” makes any sense. If that were true, then why does the Bible have all the earmarks of being a human product? Why does it endorse sexism, slavery, genocide, superstition, pagan mythology, and false science? Take a look at my discussion of the problem of sexism in my article The Inextricable Sexism of the Bible. The simple truth is that human morality has evolved a lot since the Bible was written, so much so that now its primitive morality offends the modern reader. This is precisely the opposite of what we would expect if the Bible really were authored by an eternal omniscient God.
PS By the way I am one of those “answered” prayers you asked about. I was prayed for after I had been in a horrible car accident when I was 7 years old. I lived through it after months in a hospital, and a year at home with therapy. My parents were told I would not live, then I would not walk, then I would not walk without an aid. My parents prayed, and I am walking today, without any aids of any kind. I am 56 years old and have been through a lot of experiences, all of which I have to say that there indeed is a God that still answers prayers.
I don’t think you understand my problem with prayer. You don’t know why you got better. If you had been a Muslim you would have attributed your healing to Allah. If a Catholic, perhaps you would have attributed it to Mary or some saint. If a Hindu, you would have attributed it to Ganesh or whatever God you prefered.
The problem with prayer is that it reveals that God cannot be trusted. For each person with a testimony like yours, there are ten thousand who died miserable deaths from simple diseases that we humans can now heal, all the while pleading for God’s mercy. Everyone knows that God cannot actually be TRUSTED by anyone for anything in this life. Parents who trust God for the health of their children end up with dead children and manslaughter convictions. If God were half as trustworthy as the average dentist, there would be no debate about his existence. It is simply absurd to say that “God is trustworthy” and so the foundation of Christianity is revealed to be a falsehood. Here is an excellent video that should help you understand.
I would be delighted to discuss this further with you (or anyone) so inclined.