Monday, April 11, 2011

The God of Abraham

The God of Abraham is a ridiculous fellow capricious, petulant, and cruel and one with whom a covenant is little guarantee of health or happiness. If these are the characteristics of God, then the worst among us have been created far more in his image than we ever could have hoped.

The God of Abraham is not only unworthy of the immensity of creation; he is unworthy even of man.

The God of Abraham wants heresy expunged. One look at the book of Deuteronomy reveals that he has something very specific in mind should your son or daughter return from yoga class advocating the worship of Krishna:

If your brother, the son of your father or of your mother, or your son or daughter, or the spouse whom you embrace, or your most intimate friend, tries to secretly seduce you, saying, "Let us go and serve other gods," unknown to you or your ancestors before you, gods of the peoples surrounding you, whether near you or far away, anywhere throughout the world, you must not consent, you must not listen to him; you must show him no pity, you must not spare him or conceal his guilt. No, you must kill him, your hand must strike the first blow in putting him to death and the hands of the rest of the people following. You must stone him to death, since he has tried to divert you from Yahweh your God. . . .
(Deuteronomy 13:7-11)

While the stoning of children for heresy has fallen out of fashion in our country, you will not hear a moderate Christian or Jew arguing for a "symbolic" reading of passages of this sort. In fact, one seems to be explicitly blocked by God himself in Deuteronomy 13:1
"Whatever I am now commanding you, you must keep and observe, adding nothing to it, taking nothing away"

The above passage is as canonical as any in the Bible, and it is only by ignoring such barbarisms that the Good Book can be reconciled with life in the modern world. This is a problem for "moderation" in religion: it has nothing underwriting it other than the unacknowledged neglect of the letter of the divine law.

The only reason anyone is "moderate" in matters of faith these days is that he has assimilated some of the fruits of the last two thousand years of human thought (democratic politics,6 scientific advancement on every front, concern for human rights, an end to cultural and geographic isolation, etc). The doors leading out of scriptural literalism do not open from the inside. The moderation we see among non-fundamentalists is not some sign that faith itself has evolved; it is, rather, the product of the many hammer blows of modernity that have exposed certain tenets of faith to doubt. Not the least among these developments has been the emergence of our tendency to value evidence and to be convinced by a proposition to the degree that there is evidence for it. Even most fundamentalists live by the lights of reason in this regard; it is just that their minds seem to have been partitioned to accommodate the profligate truth claims of their faith. Tell a devout Christian that his wife is cheating on him, or that frozen yogurt can make a man invisible, and he is likely to require as much evidence as anyone else, and to be persuaded only to the extent that you give it. Tell him that the book he keeps by his bed was written by an invisible deity who will punish him with fire for eternity if he fails to accept its every incredible claim about the universe, and he seems to require no evidence whatsoever.
-Sam Harris, The End Of Faith


  1. If you don't believe in God, why bother to prove Him false? Do you believe there's a devil? He is using you and you don't know it.

    Dave Clutter

  2. Perhaps this article will help you understand.

    I don't believe in the Devil, Apollo, Allah, Ares, Dionysus, Witches, Ghosts Hades, Santa, Hephaestus, Hermes, Easter Bunny, Krishna, God, Poseidon, Jehova, Zeus, Tooth Fairy, Spaghetti Monster, Goblins, or any of the thousands of other god’s mankind has worshiped and millions of other mythical creatures and beings. Do you?

    Saying that the “Devil is using me,” is the same ignorance that led to the torture and murder of young women under the guise of witches!