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Monday, October 4, 2010

When someone is smug and arrogant we want them to learn to be more humble. When someone is selfish we want to be less selfish and think of others. When someone is rude we want them to be more polite. In short, we want people to become more Godly. Correct?

This is an anonymous question from the Ask Me Anything page. I have to tell you I really like answering these questions... whether it's from one of the other godless or from a theist. 

Humility, altruism, and courtesy, are indeed characteristics I strive for (I am probably one of the most humble, altruistic, and courteous  a**holes out there) and hope my children will posses those traits too (so far so good). Please humor me for a moment as I get all tangentially. I was talking with one of my wife's friends a while back and she said, "Before having kids I never thought that people have character traits right out of the womb." She was stating what many parents know, at the earliest age children display consistent behaviors/attitudes that is their core personality. My boy Will (8) has always been a mellow and nice kid (this is what a majority of people say). I take no credit for his virtue. If anything I've been a mediocre example in mellow-ocity and sub-par in niceness. It goes without saying that he has never stepped in a church. All that niceness is 100% God-free.

Regarding the question at hand, I question the tendency of using (or implying) that people always do this or people always do that. Certainly, people who believe in God may say something to the extent of needing to act Godly. However, the conception of what that means to someone who is Jewish, Muslim, or even a variety of Christian sects may be very, very different. I doubt that Hindus, who worship a variety of deities, would speak in terms of being Godly. Perhaps they would urge a person to be more like Indra or Siva for example. Buddhists may urge others to act more like the Buddha. Some Humanists may even say something like, "We should act like Socrates," in certain situations. My point is that groups of people tend to hold up some model of good behavior (godly or otherwise) as the one to follow.

Now comes to the meat of the argument. If Christians honestly read the Bible they would understand that God is not humble, kind, or courteous. No one should be like God.

He is Evil.

Bad evil.

Capital E evil.

I will point out a few aspects of the awesome evililty (I can make up words to work the funny if I want to) of God.

You must kill those who worship another god. Exodus 22:20


The Great Flood where God kills children and the disabled because He had a bad day or two.
And this little nugget about slavery.
However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you.  You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land.  You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance.  You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.  (Leviticus 25:44-46)
People took that kinda talk in the Bible seriously too.
"[Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God...it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation...it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts." Jefferson Davis, President, Confederate States of America
But, Christians will say something like, "That was Old Testament! We have a new covenant through Christ's blood." OK, now Jesus is part of the Trinity, right? Jesus was hanging around while Dad (God the Father) was killing children and the mentally retarded (via the flood).

Me?

What would I do if I was on a murder spree and killing folk? I would sit the other part of me down and have a hardcore intervention and get me on pills. Anti-killing folk pills. Big time. Stat.

Now the Bible doesn't get into the intra-Trinity conversation, but I would hazard a guess that Jesus was at least going along with the other personality of God.

It sounds absurd because it is absurd.

Finally, let's take a look at Jesus Christ himself. OK, the Golden Rule is nice, however, other societies at other times (check it out here) have figured out the basic principle of Ethical Reciprocity. Jesus himself supported a system that if a person doesn't worship God then that person is going to Hell forever. Not a long time, not a timeout, forever in Hell and somehow the merciful Jesus thinks that is just (see my schtick on this ethical problem here).

I could write books (and others have) on this topic, but I think I covered enough of the bases.

LiP

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