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2012-02-03

God doesnít screw around in Exodus 22:20. You wonít just be put to death if you make sacrifices to other gods, you will be utterly destroyed! Damn, thatís hardcore! Of course, Iím not really clear on the difference between death and destruction, but Iím pretty sure they both end in the same manner.

But does this make any sense at all? Monotheistic religions, like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, insist that their god is the only god in existence. Which means that if you make a sacrifice to another god, youíre essentially making a sacrifice to nothing at all. So, whereís the harm in that? Well, whatever the harm is, God demands your complete and utter destruction if you do it!

Okay, so Godís a jealous god, and, as far as believerís are concerned, being extremely jealous is all part of being perfect. Ignoring the inanity of that for a moment, I have to question Godís demand for capital punishment. One of the Ten Commandments is, ďThou shalt not kill,Ē and yet currently the following crimes demand the death penalty:

  • Murder
  • Hitting a parent
  • Kidnapping
  • Enslaving a free man
  • Cursing a parent
  • Allowing an animal to kill a non-slave
  • Killing a thief (during the day)
  • Witchcraft
  • Bestiality
  • Sacrificing to other gods

This list will be increased ten-fold before we finish the Torah, but already, thatís an obscene amount of killing for a god who commands people not to kill. Now, to any rational person, this is a contradiction, plain and simple, but to a believer, there are still plenty of crazy arguments to be made. First, they claim that the commandment doesnít mean what it says it means. Thou shalt not kill, really means, thou shalt not murder. Iím fine with that, but if killing a zygote is murder, then surely killing a fully-grown person is murder? Wrong again. This is where the semantics argument comes into full swing. Itís not murder, itís self-defense.

Iím all for self-defense. If someone is preparing to kill me, I have no ethical problems with killing them first. But itís incredibly dishonest to claim that this is about self-defense. Self-defense requires that your life be at risk, but how is your life at risk if your rebellious teenager yells, ďI hope you burn in Hell!Ē How is your life at risk when your neighbor is caught having sex with his dog? These crimes are obviously minor infractions, so Iíll up the ante, how is your life at risk from a convicted murderer incarcerated in a maximum security prison?

The self-defense argument is really just meant to cover up the fact that the bible contradicts itself, and that believers would much rather see people be put to death than admit that killing is wrong.

 

Comments

Samael writes:

 

My favorite one is still coming up. Deuteronomy 13 is the most bloodthirsty part of the Bible.

"If another prophet comes to town and suggests you worship another god, KILL HIM. If your brother, son, daughter or wife suggests you worship other gods, KILL THEM WITH NO MERCY. If another town is worshipping another god, KILL THEM ALL."

Thou shalt not kill, but thou SHALT commit genocide at the slightest provocation!

Deuteronomy 17 goes a step further. It says that if you believe someone is worshipping another god and you can find at least one other person who agrees with you, go ahead and put them to death. Two people can do what one can't alone -- stone someone to death! Imagine if Christians still followed this law.

TBman256 writes:

 

@ samael spoiler warning please

Samael writes:

 

When we're talking about a book that's about 2500 years old, I don't think there's such a thing as spoilers. :P

Agnos writes:

 

And people still wonders why I'm an agnostic.

Samael writes:

 

Actually, that doesn't necessarily follow. Most people who reject Christianity and/or the Bible, also tend to reject the idea of God as well. Agnosticism isn't the first natural outcome to the rejection of established religion -- usually atheism is.

I know why I'm an agnostic though -- I'm an optimist. I still believe there's SOMETHING out there. It's just not what most people think it is, and it's far from incompatible with the established sciences, the way Christianity has tried so hard to make itself.

TheAlmightyGuru writes:

 

To me, it really depends on how you want to define "atheist". When asked, "Do you believe in a god?" I think that if you answer anything other than "yes", you're a type of atheist.

I think this, because I believe the question of theism and gnosticism answer two different questions. Theism asks if you -believe- in gods, gnosticism asks if you -know- there are gods.

Thus, if I ask you, "Do you believe in gods?" and you answer, "I don't know." You didn't answer my question. I didn't ask if you -knew- whether gods exist, I asked if you -believed- in them. You can believe in things with being 100% sure.

Thus, I call myself and agnostic atheist. I don't claim to know that gods don't exist, but I still don't believe them.

A gnostic atheist would be someone who claims to know for sure that gods don't exist. However, I don't think I've ever met someone with this belief.

A agnostic theist would be someone who believes in a god, but isn't 100% sure they exist. I've met a few people like this.

A gnostic theist is someone who claims to know that a god exist, and of course, believes in it. Most religious people I've met fall into this category.

Ima Lemming writes:

 

Some days I like to imagine Zeus, God, Odin, Ra, Vishnu, Amaterasu, Azathoth, and Blind Io are all hanging out in some alternate dimension, playing chess games with the fates of mortals as their pawns.

Samael writes:

 

Hmm, that idea has been postulated by others as well - wikipedia provides some thorough definitions which I'll quote for the benefit of others.

"An agnostic theist believes in the existence of at least one deity, but regards the truth or falsehood of this proposition as unknown or inherently unknowable. The agnostic theist may also or alternatively be agnostic regarding the properties of the God(s) they believe in."

"Agnostic atheism, also called atheistic agnosticism, is a philosophical position that encompasses both atheism and agnosticism. Agnostic atheists are atheistic because they do not hold a belief in the existence of any deity and agnostic because they claim that the existence of a deity is either unknowable in principle or currently unknown in fact."

I think it's an interesting way to categorize beliefs, but it feels redundant to say "I don't believe in God, and I believe that it's impossible to prove whether one exists or not." I call it redundant because if you've already decided you don't believe, does it matter as much if you can or can't prove in the existence of God? In my experience, it's the lack of proof which makes many people into atheists. You can only acknowledge the InformedAttribute of God's all-powerful love and willingness to intercede on our behalf at the drop of a prayer of the merest faith (Luke 17:6, Matthew 17:20) and see so much atrocity take place unadverted before realizing that God doesn't make personal appearances on demand, if at all, and he rarely ever saves His believers from horrible atrocities. Knowledge of that sort tends to shatter faith.

Heh. Can you imagine someone saying "I don't believe in God, but I can prove He exists"? You'd think it was the set-up to a joke. Actually, while you shouldn't let it strain your mind, this is EXACTLY how people like Tim LaHaye believe people really are -- that they KNOW Christianity is the One True Path, that they KNOW God exists, that they KNOW Christians are correct... but they choose to reject it all anyway, and the only people who truly have an excuse are the ignorant, who (according to The LaHaye Script of Conversions) should react to quotes from the Bible with a combination of pleased surprise and instantaneous acceptance. "Oh," they should say, "That makes perfect sense! I accept Jesus Christ as my personal lord and savior. Do you have Christian merchandise I can divulge my filthy mammon upon? You DO? A bestselling series of filth and triumphalism?! Oh joy!"

Tangent aside, what else strikes me interesting about this is the contrast to Christianity, which also can't prove that God exists by any definitive, scientific method, but whom claim it's "obvious to anyone who looks with an open heart." In reality, once you strip aside interesting coincidences and dramatic stories, you're left with nothing but anecdotes (and the plural of anecdote is not data). Thus even for people on the opposite side of the spectrum, an agnostic outlook (if tempered by optimism) seems like it should be the default for any reasonable person. "I believe in God, although I can't prove it," sounds like a perfectly reasonable statement to me, provided that God isn't whispering in your ear, telling you to kill the thirteen tribes of Islam, starting with your neighbors.

I have to wonder what it would do to atheism to actually prove that God exists. I can see atheism splitting into three categories at that point. The first would be people who reject God (assuming the Christian variant turned out to be the real one in this scenario) because of the bloody principles we see in the Bible. Why would you want to worship someone who advocates rape, murder and slavery every other page? The second would reject religion, if not God, claiming that we cannot know the nature of that entity even if we CAN prove it exists. Why would you worship the sun, even if you could prove it had intelligence and a personality? The third would reject both, simply not wishing to dedicate their lives to an individual. Why would you worship the President of the United States, even if he WAS the bestest president ever and ever? Living life independently, making your own decisions, is a respectable decision.

I suppose this makes me an agnostic theist in the end. Learn something new about yourself every day, I guess! Sorry for babble babble. :P

Richard writes:

 

I am 'agnostic' about gods to the same extent that I am 'agnostic' that gravity is caused by Gravity Fairies pushing everything together. I am 99.999[999]% sure neither is true. Mathematically, that is 100%.

Samael writes:

 

Heh, so that 0.00...1% chance is your element of "maybe"? ^^

TheAlmightyGuru writes:

 

@Richard: You should read about out Russell's teapot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russell%27s_teapot

Richard writes:

 

Thanks TAG, been down that road years ago. I like to invent my own ridiculous claims that "could be true", though. Fairies are a good choice because of the belief of some people (hopefully just in the distant past) that they cause everything from bad luck to Winter. And 'Fantasia' was cool.


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Oh the irony!