Tuesday, August 18, 2009

God, the unGodly.

In instance after instance in the so called 'source book' for God, we find God commiting genocide, judging unfairly, being guilty of favouritism etc., pressing home the point that our standards of goodness and fairness pale in comparison to God's.

But with a little smooth talking this can be explained away from every and any point of view that you might take. The stories are not exactly as happened due to mortal influence of misinterpretation, stories being altered to the 'best fit' of a different language and interpretation from language no longer fully understood etc.

We can use double-think. Feeling smug that God, who we praise and worship 'showed them who is boss', while being willing to turn-tables on the gist of the story to allow a benevolent God.

E.g. In the story of Moses, we are encouraged to enjoy the come-uppance of Pharaoah when, powerful as he(as man-god) is, Yahweh, can bring him to his knees. If it's pointed out that this is a cruel story, the emphasis is changed to the benevolent God setting some rules and the evil Pharoah just being evil.

Seems to me that since God can do anything, He could have, instead of hardening Pharoah's heart, instead of getting in a 'cock-measuring contest', he could just as easily have softened Pharoah's heart to just let the Hebrews go. Same result, but hardly the propaganda message, to the Hebrews, that Yahweh was more powerful than even Pharaoh.

We are told that free will is a notion that we cannot live without, if we can only know all our options, a good person(or any intelligent being) would pick the best one.

If I, a lowly human being can see an 'option B' where God sends Pharaoh a dream instead of bullying the Pharoah into 'letting HIS people go', it puts apologists in a position where they have to try to explain God's carnage(as it is written) in human terms while they are trying to explain that God's reasons CAN'T be explained in human terms.

But I think that 'the religious' use the same tactic in politics too, where they, the Godly can excuse themselves of completely lacking goodness either because their example, 'God's Biblical deeds', is a shining example to them, or, because as in their understanding of the Bible, they can switch point-of-views on themselves thereby fooling themselves that their selfish reasoning is, if not 'good', then at least Godly.

E.g.

"Dropping an atomic device on innocent people is evil!" Yes or No?

(If we imagine the hated communist regime of the 20th. Century, we'd have to say 'YES', and that is why we need to have an appropriate, devastating response to this kind of threat.)

"Torturing people is evil and we ought to hunt down perpetrators of such heinous crime and bring them to justice!"

(If we imagine being incarcerated in some backward and/or evil regime for breaking their unjust rules, we would certainly hope that anyone torturing us would get their come-uppance, right?)

But the Godly can agree and disagree. Taking their example from the 'Good Book', they can hold their heads up righteously and say, "YES, dropping an atomic bomb on innocents is evil, unless WE'RE doing it!", and, "YES, torture in inhumane, unless WE'RE doing it!"

... and just as the Bible explains that whatever God does, is Godly, whether it would be unGodly if anyone else did it, then whatever they do is Godly EVEN IF they think that it would be unGodly of someone else to do it.

52 comments:

mac said...

That's God. The biggest hypocrite of them all.

The Maze Monster said...

couldn't have said it better myself

GearHedEd said...

Good to see you back from Lower Saxony, Ian. There's some good commentary going on in the DD remnant, or was until everyone broke for evening pancakes...

"Dominus Vobiscm, et cum Spiritu Tuo..."

http://news.aol.com/newsbloggers/2008/09/27/obama-and-the-reagan-doctrine/793#comments

pboyfloyd said...

Exactly mac, thanks 'Monster, and Ed, I'm not exactly finished with 'Saxony'... I'm going for the prestige number 1 spot.. just to see if I can get it.

oneblood said...

"... and just as the Bible explains that whatever God does, is Godly, whether it would be unGodly if anyone else did it, then whatever they do is Godly EVEN IF they think that it would be unGodly of someone else to do it."

Rubbish. Your point is valid, your half truth isn't. Hypocrisy and genocide know no religion or political party in exclusivity.

Corruption? Double standards?

Ours.

Every tribe says that the other tribes are "wrong." Yours and mine included.

We're human, awfully and wonderfully so.

I have to give you credit actually not peanutbutter and jolly Scots, you made me face Heidegger's national socialism. Something I did not want to do.

I couldn't stand that this man would support mass murder and yet still be so friggin insightful.

I made some off hand remark about his Nazi status one time, and you mentioned the slaughter in the OT. I realized I didn't agree with that either. It's a bloody book.

But it's human.

As an atheist you say this book isn't special right? It's not divine right? Then why do you negate it's obvious humanity through your critique?

I'm on a 'human' kick. I inarticulately expressed as much on Pliny's blog as well. But it's the root isn't it...

It's good to see you kvetching again though :-D

Harvey said...

Oneblood:
"As an atheist you say this book isn't special right? It's not divine right? Then why do you negate it's obvious humanity through your critique?"

Not all of us do. My viewpoint has always been that if one ignores the first few of the 10 commandments (those that deal with man's relationship to God) all the rest make very good sense if one seeks wise guidance about how to successfully relate to his fellow man. Likewise, (having studied at least the OT at some length and in the original Hebrew) there is great wisdom to be found in the pages of scripture, if one can see them as allegorical stories designed to show us many of the mistakes of history so that we may avoid repeating all of them. I think that most non-believers who are so "angry" at scripture that they lash out at its very mention, do so because it has been used almost like a club by preachers and proselytizers throughout its history. This last, I might add, has not been strictly limited to Christians, although they have been the main abusers over recent centuries.

pboyfloyd said...

Hey oneblood. How's it going?

I think that I made a good point here. The example is from the 'roots' story told to all the children in Christendom.

I think your response is an attempt to complicate the issue( Heidegger?) and to over-generalize it.(Everyone is like that?)

My simple point is that that story, the essence of that story, 'opens the door' for believers to claim that all manner of vices are, in fact, Godly, doesn't it?

Believers can point to the vices of others and demonize THEM, while claiming the exact opposite for the same thoughts, deeds and actions by themselves.

Doesn't seem fair to me, and it's hypocritical on the surface, easily sloughed off as hypocritical, easily discarded.

When a believer says, "You are bad because of your actions!", but really means, "You are bad because you don't believe in the right God or the existence of Gods!", "goodness" goes 'out the window', gets lost in the shuffle, doesn't it?

Pliny-the-in-Between said...

This is one of the primary lines of logic that started me thinking years ago; The Bible makes a couple of crucial points:

God is perfect; Man is not.
Man is made in God's image but is less perfect.

Logic demands that we explore the ramifications of this.

God must be better than the best human.

The best human would not:
1) punish the innocent
2) test a father by making him kill his child
3) commit genocide
4) slaughter children
5) set up children to fail through ignorance

etc.
Therefore the Bible has a bit of problem to reconcile.

Harvey said...

Actually, I think that the Bible (a book) cannot reconcile anything. However, one would hope that the people who choose to read it will use ter intellect that either evolution or God (your preference) has given them to recognize that which needs to be reconciled.

oneblood said...

"Hey oneblood. How's it going?"

Nice. Gotta admit, made me chuckle. I can only vaguely perceive how I come across at times, forgive me.

"I think that I made a good point here."

If by 'here' you mean the response to my rejoinder then yes you did.

"I think your response is an attempt to complicate the issue( Heidegger?)"

Not at all. Maybe my noggin overcomplicated things, but bringing up Heidegger was a compliment to you. Whether incidentally or not you put him into perspective for me.

"...and to over-generalize it.(Everyone is like that?)"

D'oh! Mmmm, you're right. I just got served my least and most favorite desert...humble pie. Sigh.
I'm going to go get a glass of milk.

I do want to clarify something. Whenever I rearrange your screen name or do something sandwichy with it, it's out of a kind of odd affection, i.e. "not peanut butter and jolly Scots" "pb and joyful"

Of course I don't agree that simple belief in a fiction opens up the believer to hypocrisy (which is essentially what you're saying). I do think that the paradoxes and the severity might though.

But I do agree with you that a Christian's 'right' and a Hindu's 'wrong' aren't necessarily valid, and most times are more harmful than helpful.

Yet their ignorance of such usage excuses them from intellectual judgment and relegates them to being equals.

pboyfloyd said...

"Of course I don't agree that simple belief in a fiction opens up the believer to hypocrisy (which is essentially what you're saying)."

Well, I think that I'm saying that there is an unbridgable chasm between "Godly" and "good".

I'm saying that the basic premise that God is Good is flawed and that it is only because of the way we in Christendom are taught the stories that we get conned into believing that the two are equivalent.

Favouritism is surely a bad thing, but it is justified and encouraged in Bible stories and the theme is repeated in life by parents, organizations and governments as if it WERE fair.

Balfour, "His Majesty's government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people...", is an obvious example.

Was Balfour being hypocritical? Not if you are a Christian or a Jew he wasn't!

Harry C Pharisee said...

I was just playing with my shmeckel and he said to me, "Hey, what ever happened to that pboyfloyd guy?"

I had to tell him that sadly I didn't know.

pboyfloyd said...

Hmmm.. a talking schmekel, eh?

I just can't 'see' a talking schmekel wondering where I was tho'.

Harry C Pharisee said...

Oh so now the Pharisee doesn't have a talking penis? Much less a talking penis concerned with your whereabouts?

I know, it's cause I'm Jewish.

I told my shmeckel, and he was very disappointed.

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