Thank you to my opponent for accepting my challenge for debate on this issue. I was beginning to think no one would. Now, on to my opening arguments.
It is my position that the Christian god, as depicted in the Christian bible, is not omnibenevolent, or even benevolent at all. In fact, it is my position that the Christian god is evil. It is certainly not fit for worship. Below, I will explain why this is. Being that this is mostly a debate of morality, some parts of my argument will not be emotionally indifferent. However, I will remain objective.
Hell, of course, is the mother of all of my problems with the bible. It is perhaps the most despicable and hideous of all of the Christian God’s crimes. Indeed, the cruelest of all concentration camps. (Certainly far worse than the ones created by the Nazis.) Described biblically as the “lake of fire”, “the place of eternal torment with weeping and gnashing of teeth”
Jesus said in Mark 9:42-48 That it is better to commit suicide or self maiming than to be delivered unto Hell. So, if the bible is to be believed, I assume that all here can agree that there is an existence of Hell, and that Hell is the worst of all circumstance. Knowing this, let me indulge you as to why the existence of hell paints the Christian God as not benevolent, and certainly not fit for worshiping.
I am a moderately compassionate individual, rational, moral, and nurturing. I propose this to you, a human question. Can all here, Christian or atheist, safely say that if there is a god, he is our greatest thought magnified? Whatever emotion we feel as human, being created in his image, God is infinitely more feeling? For he is the creator of all things created, I believe this concept is pretty safe to assume. With this being so, if I were a parent, my love for my child must be a fraction of God’s love for his children. If I were a parent, I could safely say that if my child were to commit the greatest harm upon me tomorrow, I would never wish them harm. Why? Simply because they are my creation.
If my child were to maim me, slander me, etc. I would still love them, for my instinct and emotion demands of me to protect and care for them regardless of their actions, much like all rational beings (animal kingdom included). So now I pose the question, why then would God condemn us to Hell for something as menial as lack of faith? If he is infinitely more so loving then me, why would Hell even exist? Any true loving being would never condemn his own children to everlasting torment, especially one that proclaims himself to having the very essence of forgiveness.
But “God Is Just” You Claim
Most Christians have responded to this statement with the following rationalization. “God can not let all of his creations into heaven because he is just.” I ask in rebuttal to this, since when is justice more important than love in the heart of a parent? Is Hell even justice, or is it simply cruel and unusual punishment? The bible states the system of justice very simply. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. There is also another variation of that system with the biblical verse “eye for an eye”. The Christian God violates his own system of law when he damns his creations to eternal suffering for sins as menial as theft or blasphemy. I hardly think, nor would any logical person, that throwing someone into a gnashing jaw would be justly befitting of nearly any crime. (With the exception of murder, and even so, eternal punishment is pretty excessive.)
Most courts of law would take custody of your child from you just for an excessive spanking. We as a people enacted these laws, for we thought them to be logical. Is God above logic, or what we deem as compassionate behavior? After all he pitches a majority of his children into a lake of “fire and brimstone.” How many of us would want a parent such as that? Anyone of us would immediately sever our ties with such an abusive person. Yet Christians knowingly continue the insanity of giving worship to a god so cruel!
I hear a lot from Christians about God’s “infinite compassion and mercy”.
Instead of harping on me about something so unapparent, they should go tell it to the Midianites. (Please open your Bibles to Numbers 31) The following verses are a classic example of wholesale slaughter and rape under the direction of the same God they claim to be so merciful. A quick sample of this tale: On the way to the promised land, God had Moses wage a war campaign against the Midian. Moses was told to put every Midianite to death, plunder anything of value, set fire to their towns where they lived and all their encampments. Moses gave the orders to his troops (the sons of Israel) and went on a further campaign. On the return of his troops Moses was enraged with the commanders of the army. He said, “Why have you spared the life of all the women and children? You are to kill all the children and kill all the women who have slept with a man. The lord says spare the lives only of the young girls who have not slept with a man, and take them for yourselves, so that we may multiply into a great nation.” Yes, friends, this is biblical infinite mercy and compassion for you. I particularly like the way that Moses got upset with them for sparing women and male children, but allowed the young girls to be kept for later raping.
I have had some Christians proclaim that these Midianite girls were not taken for raping but marriage. How ridiculous! If you continue further in the scripture you will find that marriage to a Midianite was a crime against God. A man named Zimri broke the law and married a Midianite woman. This angered God so he sent a plague among the Hebrews. Fortunately, a zealous son of Israel speared Zimri right through the genitals, and the plague went away. So now I ask you, if you could not marry a Midianite, just what were these “virgin woman who were to help multiply” good for? Are Christians really going to claim that, if they were a young woman who had just watched thousands of men utterly obliterate everyone and everything they had ever known and loved, they would willingly have sex with one of them? These women were raped under the command of God.
I don’t think the first born in Egypt during the captivity would have agreed with the verdict of compassion and mercy either. (Exodus 11:5 & 12:29) First of all, Jehovah is the one who purposely hardened the heart of the Pharaoh so that he would not let Moses and the Jews go. God messed with someone’s free will. God could have even teleported the Jews out of captivity without bloodshed, or put the Egyptians to sleep while they left, but no. God decided to set up a situation in which he knew he would have to punish the Pharaoh. Though this he didn’t even do. He punished the children instead. Judging from God’s previous actions, killing innocent children is much more his forte.
Lastly, please attempt to read the entire book of Joshua some evening. It is a long sequence of atrocities. I have not given all these quotes for space reasons. I urge you to look them up for yourself. Especially for Christians who are not familiar with the bible. It will leave you not only shocked and in question of just what you are worshiping, but it will give a new definition to all morality you claimed was a derivative of God. If by some chance you read Joshua and you are still compliant with the loving notion of God, I suggest you reevaluate your code of ethics.
Here is the place I will now speak of common rationalizations used for this slaughter. I have discovered via my discussions that there are two major forms: the corruption argument and the mercy argument. The former says that those slaughtered were evil and deserving of their fate; the latter says that since they were religiously incorrect, it was a mercy to terminate their existence.
The corruption argument simply does not hold up. The people slaughtered in the Old Testament were almost uniformly blameless (with a few exceptions, of course, for instance, the Sodomites violated the conventions of hospitality.) Usually, no justification is offered beyond the fact that since they were of another tribe, it was okay to kill them. It goes with out saying that the hordes of slaughtered children were innocent. (*Quick tip-If God was anti abortion he wouldn’t have ordered the murder of pregnant women and young children.)
As to the mercy argument: If I don’t claim to be suffering, and don’t ask to die, neither you nor any god has the right to decide that you know better. (This would of course be a violation of my free will.) If a person tried to do this to me, I would quite frankly attempt to kill them; if a god tried, well, the only weapon I would have would be withholding my worship. Are you beginning to see why I do not comply with the worship of the Christian God?
Most of us, given omnipotence, would be able to do a far better job than Jehovah. What would you do if given omnipotence? If your answer is anything other than “abolish world hunger, disease or save the earth”, there’s something more than a little skewed in your perception of mankind. There is no question that the very balance of life is in peril. To wish for these things doesn’t take “infinite mercy”, just normal compassion and a bit of common sense. God’s supposed infinite mercy is apparently the same thing as no mercy at all.
What makes this particularly unforgivable is that even Jesus’ own standards demand feeding of the poor. See Matthew 25:35, in which it is stated that the blessed feed the hungry, and that the damned do not. I find it funny that God is held blameless, though, for not feeding them. Does not the old saying “practice what you preach” apply to God? Is his lack of action a hypocrisy or a sin? Could it perhaps be both?
Usually, when I bring this up in a discussion, someone says, “No. It is the evil of men that is to blame; they have lots of money and keep it to themselves rather than feeding the poor.” (Funny thing that the Christians who say this are usually conservative.) This argument uses a double standard. Men are held guilty for not feeding the poor, while God is held innocent for doing exactly the same. In fact, it would be far easier for God to feed all the poor with his omnipotence, than for any mortal man to feed even one! Mankind is certainly not blameless here, but it is the Christian god who is the true villain.
Another popular rationalization is that life without “challenges” would be boring and dehumanizing, so God does not remove them. The fallacy here is grouping all challenges together. I personally lead a very challenging and satisfying life, but I have not lately had to flee any volcanoes or earthquakes, go without food for a week, or suffer the ravages of some disease. I would be quite happy, in fact, if I never do have to face such challenges as those. There is plenty of room for amelioration of the human condition without making it dull. Does it not defeat the purpose of living life if you are to starve to death?
Faith Is Required To Know God
Suppose you were an omnipotent god, and you demand worship, such as the Christian god. Would you give proof of your existence to those who wished to follow you? I imagine for Jehovah that it would be quite simple to perform a continual sequence of verifiable miracles. It would be quite logical in practice too, for it would keep God’s followers from delusion and doubt. There is no such luck with this god though. He demands absolute fidelity without any demonstration of his existence. The only so called record of his existence is the bible. I think it pretty much goes with out saying that not only is the bible 2,000 years out dated, but it is also very unoriginal. Any Christian who proposes that the bible is indeed evidence for God’s existence is proposing a double standard. For there are many books which claim to be actual accounts of a higher power. With this in mind, why not believe in Allah from the Koran? Could it be because your faith is what determines your belief and not your so called “factual” book?
Let’s examine what faith is. The definition of faith is: Firm belief in something for which there is no proof (www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faith
). There is no virtue in accepting something on faith, since it may very well be false, and it is clearly not virtuous to believe the false. Faith has also been proven through out history, time and again, that it is equivalent to massive hysteria; IE: Crusades, Burning Times, Inquisitions, Holy Wars, etc. On a grand scale, faith, thus far, has only proven to be an intellectual weakness, and a significant barrier to scientific and moral progress. With all of this in mind, how can God possibly expect us to view faith as the greatest way to glorify him, let alone demand this of us?
Most importantly, the point to remember here is that if we don’t believe in him, we go to Hell, and this is a greater evil than a lack of the “virtue” of faith or a stunting of science, or anything else conceivable. If God is truly concerned about the good, he will do what he can to keep us from Hell, and withholding vital information from us is the exact opposite of this.
God Is The Creator Of Evil
I am frustrated at two specific verses in the bible, which applies to this particular topic. The first is the biblical statement that “God is the Alpha and the Omega” (Revelation 22:13). Loosely defined it means the beginning and the end, the all knowing. Which of course implies that all of his actions and the results are fore known to him. I have a real problem with this notion. For if God was to know ahead of time that someday he would send me to Hell for being an Atheist, I ask what was the purpose in him creating me in the first place? Was it simply to watch me be tortured? That seems to be the most logical explanation. I can think of no other rational explanation, nor neither has any Christian who I posed this question to. Some people have attempted to tell me that God has a purpose unknown to us, and that we must simply accept his will. Would you keep a friend who commits evil and offers no self-justification or remorse? Of course not, so why is this same judgment not applied to God? It’s seems rather contradictory that this trait is despised in humanity, yet, it is worshiped in religion.
Secondly, I want to reinforce the fact that God is indeed the creator of evil. Please read verse Isaiah 45:7. “I form the light and create darkness. I make peace and create evil. I the lord do all these things”
. The Christian God outright claims that he is indeed the source of evil. This alone proves that the Christian god is not omnibenevolent. Furthermore, how can he then claim to be sinless?
To be more specific, let’s talk about the lord’s creation of evil. Let’s talk about the conception of Satan. This being was created and unleashed by God. This god knew (for he is the all knowing) that at the time of Lucifer’s creation he would eventually become Satan, and spend his existence wreaking havoc on man kind. Leading people into criminal activities. Suppose I were to build an evil robot, that I knew would go around torturing and murdering people. Whose fault would it be if I let it loose? Mine or the robot’s? Of course it would be mine, for I created it with that purpose and unleashed it for that purpose. Now I ask you, whose fault is deviltry in the world? Is it the PUPPET Satan or the being that deliberately created Satan’s evil?
Now God plays Switch-A-Roo and humans are the creators of evil. Not only does the bible imply, but so do many Christians, that we as a people are the creators of evil. It is clear for reading the bible that this is untrue, but the speculation still remains. Supposedly, when Adam and Eve fell from grace, they single handedly brought evil into the world. All you have to do is think logically for a moment, and you will obviously see something is very unjust with this concept. Could any rational being hold a starving infant in Ethiopia responsible for the actions of two long dead people? Or perhaps, would you find it fair to be convicted of Jack the Ripper’s crimes? The connection in both of these instances are not only ludicrous but, disgusting to nod your head at. People who use this argument are simply attempting to rationalize sadism.
I must declare that a Christian that walks into a children's ward and insists that it is correct that children suffer as a result of the original sin, must destroy themselves of all compassion and mercy. I insist that those who worship the lord knowing this hypocrisy must be as cruel as the Christian God he/she believes in. A complete and utter moral degenerate, taking stabs at protecting their belief system. A person as such would just as easily worship Satan as God in their blindness and faith. For apparently, no amount of evidence could convince him that God was bad once they decided to worship him; their basic assumption is that they are correct, which makes them untouchable by any amount of rationality.
One of the criticisms most frequently leveled at me when presenting any of the above arguments has been that I have no right to judge God. A pretty feeble grasp at the straws. Christians proclaim that God is the definition of good. All morality proceeds downwards from him, so it makes no sense to apply moral standards to him. But I must interject. God allowed my ancestors Adam and Eve to eat the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Thus, allowing us “to be like gods, and know the difference between good and evil”.
This very biblical verse, written in the first book of Genesis, conflicts with the same argument these Christians attempt to use. If we as humans are now capable of knowing good and evil LIKE THE GODS,
then why can’t we use our judgment? How can it be lower then God’s if God is the one who claimed that we are like him?
Let’s say for the sake of argument that I should not judge God. Well then, would it be fair to hold him up to his own standards? Please consult verses Matthew 25:41-46 We hear Jesus say: “Go away from me with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food; I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink; I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, naked and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me. . . And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the virtuous to eternal life.”
Now, I have never personally seen Jesus feed the hungry, nor have I seen him give drink to those who thirst. But, I do personally see thousands of people die of starvation. I do not recall Jesus dispensing clothes. He has never made me feel welcome, let alone acknowledged. I see the faithful sicken and die on a daily basis. In light of this Jesus himself is the worst of all sinners; if there is no double standard he will be at the head of the line into eternal punishment. He is guilty of every crime of which he accuses the damned.
I don't think I could ever completely list every problem I have with the Christian god. There are many more topics in which to tackle such as sexism, infanticide, homophobia, and the likes. Unfortunately, this site enforces a character limit, and so I have to cut it short. However, I have listed more than enough proof of this god's evil to utterly refute the notion that he is at all benevolent. I give the floor to my opponent.