Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Doctrine of a Literal Hell

The Doctrine of a Literal Fiery Hell

There are a great deal of modern day Christians who reject the doctrine we are going to discuss today. Most Christians do not believe that Hell is a literal place of fiery torment where little satyr pan-demons poke you with a fork. The cartoonish depictions often ascribed to Hell come, mainly, from Greek ideas of the Underworld.

You might have noticed that Hell doesn't get mentioned much in the Old Testament, only a few very loosely interpreted scriptures even make reference to such a place. It isn't until the New Testament, much of which was transcribed by Greeks, that Hell becomes the Lake of Fire we all know and love. This borrowed from Hades, the Greek Underworld guarded by another thing we all know and love, the three headed hellhound Cerberus.

But the Doctrine of the literal ETERNAL hellfire is one of the hallmarks of fundamentalist literalist Christianity and it will be the subject of today's tirade.

By far the idea of Hell is one of the most frustratingly stupid scare tactics ever fabricated by religion. The idea that a God can both love you unconditionally and be willing to punish you continuously for eternity is as paradoxical as can be. When I was a Christian I didn't see that big of a deal about it, mainly because I was afraid to voice the gnawing concern that the idea of Hell was bullshit - because I didn't want to go there.

Why would a loving God send you to eternal Hell for some simple sins?

Apologists will say things like:

Because sin must be separate from God


You have freewill, he's given you the right to choose him or Hell.

Well what kind of a God gives you freewill and sends you into a world crammed full of sin and populated by dozens of other religions and expects you to navigate that minefield in one lifetime or else you get an eternity of flesh-melting teeth-gnashing blood-boiling Hellfire? So God has granted us freewill but he demands, under penalty of eternal hellfire, that we exercise that freewill by accepting Jesus and serving him. How is that freedom of choice? There are only two choices in that system, obey or burn.

Another reason for Hell that is brought up by Christians is the idea that God is Just and must punish sin. The idea is that God cannot simply forgive all the sin in the world, someone needs to be punished for it. Who do CHRISTians think carried their sin? The hint is in the name.

So God impregnates a virgin with one third of himself who is also his own son. This Son-God in a human body then dies for the sins of the world. But wait, SIN is meant to carry an ETERNAL punishment - it doesn't just carry a death sentence (although the wages of sin IS Death) it also carries an eternal after-life sentence. So does Jesus's death really cover the sin? And how is it Justice to send an innocent man to die on my behalf? That wouldn't hold up in any court of law. It's the equivalent of a murderer getting acquitted even after he confesses and the judge sending his own son to be punished on the murderer's behalf. Christians seem to love this idea, the idea that they are scum who don't deserve God's love or Jesus's sacrifice. That's how Christianity works, it destroys the self-esteem and self-reliance of the individual and replaces it with the desperate need for this imaginary friend (Jesus).

And what's worse is that the whole Jesus ordeal shows once again how bad of a Father Yahweh truly is. Rather than find another, more effective way, to forgive sins Yahweh decides to sacrifice his own Son. Everyone knows John 3:16 starts

God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son....

This is the same planet he had FLOODED, the same people he had DROWNED are now more valuable to him than his own child (Jesus).

Revelation 21:8 is probably my favorite verse for illustrating the bullshit of the doctrine of Hell. It records all of the sorts of people who will get tossed in with the devil and his angels to endure eternal torment.

The truth is that a being, in order to punish anyone for all eternity, would HAVE to be evil or at the very least be capable of evil. Even I, as a flawed human being, could never think of an offense for which an eternity of punishment was deserved. Even Hitler, for all his evil, might only deserve eleven million lifetimes worth of punishment, one lifetime for each person he sent to their death in the Holocaust. Even Hitler, for all his evil, does not deserve infinite punishment. Infinite punishment for a finite list of sins can never justice, especially when that punishment isn't merely rotting in a prison cell, but is being tortured in a Lake of Fire continuously.

An All-Powerful being, in order to allow something to happen, must also WANT that something to happen. For instance if I watch someone get hit by a car and do not act in time to push them out of the way there are numerous reasons why I might have failed to save them. But an all-powerful being stands aside and allows tragedy to happen purposefully. If an all-powerful being exists nothing, not even measly human freewill, could ever trump the power and divine Will of THE GOD of the UNIVERSE.

So why would any being ever be sent to Hell? Once again Yahweh fails miserably, his best laid plan, to send Jesus, will fail. According to Revelations only 144,000 will make it into Heaven and if you look at how simple some of the sins that God can damn you for are it starts to make sense why the Heavenly City will be such an exclusive club.

The Doctrine of Hell is one of the most morally disturbing ideas in religion and I feel that even most believers understand that. That, of course, does not stop them from using the threat of hell as a scare tactic to keep you in the pew feeding from the mouth of madness.

I leave you with a verse from 2nd Peter Chapter 3 verse 9

"The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."

If God doesn't want anyone to perish. If he doesn't want anyone in Hell. Than why is he willing to send them there at all? And why is the best plan he could come up with to send Jesus, leave no evidence behind and demand we be gullible enough to believe in Christ sans any evidence at all? Doesn't God know that his plan isn't working?

The best laid plans of Yahweh and Yeshua...

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Bible and Slavery

Way back when I myself was a Christian I would have told you that the Bible contained glimpses of the divine. Others take it further still believing the entire Bible contains the edicts, precepts, commands and moral code that God himself ordained for us. Many believe that these aren't just God's rules for man but they are inherently, or objectively moral. Things like the ten commandments and love thy neighbor, they might say, are part of God's righteous character.

But the more I studied the Bible the more I came to realize that God's moral code seemed more like the primitive morals of a bronze age group of human beings. The Old Testament is rife with violence, bloodshed and depicts God as all but merciless. Many are punished simply for one sin, other times God punishes the innocent for the sins of the wicked (as we saw in Egypt with the first born, also see the David and Bathsheba story)

Now onto the meat of this post. The Bible is meant to have that divine moral code we talked about. One might think that if its morals are divinely inspired, something like slavery would be against the law. Slavery is something that God is said to have saved the Israelites from, he brought them out of Egypt.

The ten commandments, however, show that Yahweh is showing preferential treatment to the Israelites. In the opening of the ten (Exodus 20) God says that he led them out of the land of slavery. But the Thou Shalt not Covet they neighbors goods commandment mentions maidservants and manservants as if they are property to be owned.

Exodus 20:17

" "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." "

The God of the Bible is once again LESS moral than human beings. While it did take us human beings until the 1860s (later in some countries) to finally outlaw slavery and come to terms with the moral repugnance of taking people as property Yahweh, the God of the Bible, seems okay with slavery and never recants that. Even in the New Testament slaves are instructed, by the Apostle Paul, to obey their masters. (Colossians 3:22).

In fact not long after setting the Hebrews free God sets up some ground rules for taking Hebrew slaves. So out of one enslavement and into another eh? Yahweh is lenient here though, he only allows them to take Hebrew slaves as indentured servants for six years before they are allowed to go free. Exodus 21 verses 7-11 are even more disturbing:

" 7 "If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as menservants do. 8 If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, [b] he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. 9 If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money. "

Apparently a Hebrew man get's to go free, but God, almighty, merciful, wonderful, loving God, says that women don't get to go free after six years. Exodus 21:20-21 gives directions on how hard you can beat your slaves. According to the Bible you can beat your slave until near-death, if he dies however the slave-owner must be punished, but if the slave manages to get up again in a few days he won't be punished. Seriously you can read this stuff for yourself people.

The book of Leviticus is where the rules for taking foreign slaves are laid down, the book even says you can purchase children as slaves. So not only does Yahweh, the merciful God of the Bible, condone and indulge in murdering kids on numerous occasions he also condones purchasing them as slaves. Slaves that can then be beaten within an inch of their lives - as long as they get up in a day or two, before the vultures get to them.


The God of the Bible condones slavery, even lays down the rules for it. The best part is that Christians cannot escape this with the Get Out of the Old Testament Free card because the Apostle Paul mentions that slaves should obey their masters. Perhaps the Christians should also have a Get out of the Epistles Free Card.

Of all the scriptures in the Bible that make mention of slavery the most repugnant and glaringly evil one that I have come across takes place in the book of Numbers in the 31st Chapter. The Chapter begins with God, once again, commanding the Israelites go out and commit genocide. They are to lay waste to the Midianites to quote "carry out the Lord's vengeance". So God openly admits the blood of the Midianites is on his hands because he wants revenge. After the Israelites have thoroughly routed the Midianites they return to Moses with the spoils of war, including women and children they have taken prisoner.

In the 15th verse of Chapter 31 Moses condemns their action and in the 17th verse tells them to:

"17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man."

Now I am aware that Moses is not Yahweh himself but Moses was God's chosen prophet who led them out of Egypt. Should he not be aware that taking virgin slaves is not a good idea? Some apologists will say that these virgin girls were not going to be taken and repeatedly raped for the rest of their lives by their "owners" but I think its fairly obvious that they are especially when you read the portions of Exodus where they talk of purchasing a slave girl for your son. Even if it isn't Yahweh's direct command it is still another example of how the Bible fails to be morally sound on even a human level, let alone a divine level.

So what did we learn today? We learned that the Bible and its God Yahweh condone slavery and think that when you commit genocide you should kill the boys and the sluts and keep the virgins for yourself.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

America is NOT a Christian Nation

America is not a Christian Nation

Being an American there is an easily detectable conspiracy amidst believers to spread a myth about America's origins. According to right-wing Christians America is a Christian nation founded on Judeo-Christian principles.

The first part of this myth I want to put to bed is the idea that America is a Christian nation. This can be killed off by a simple Google Search to find the Treaty of Tripoli. Signed by President John Adams the treaty destroys any notion that we were established as a specifically Christian nation.

The following text is from Article Eleven of the Treaty of Tripoli:

"Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

I want to further show, however, to these fundamentalist morons, that the Bible has had almost NO influence over our laws OR our Constitution.

As you can see from the above photo the Bill of Rights says nothing about America being a Christian nation and appears more AGAINST Judeo-Christian values than for them. Rather than shoving religion down the throat of all godless heathens and sinister idol worshipping pagans the Bill of Rights establishes free religion. Notice that nowhere does it say that:

People who work on the Sabbath should be killed. (Exodus 31:12-15)

Women who are not virgins on their wedding night should be stoned. This is in the wonderfully rich chapter Deuteronomy 22 where the following other gems can be found:

- The penalty for adultery is death for both the cheater and the woman he cheated with

- A virgin pledged to be married who is raped before her wedding night inside a city BUT fails to cry out is to be STONED TO DEATH with her attacker.

Notice that in the verse about a virgin who is raped the man is put to death ONLY for having sex with "another man's wife" NOT for the crime of RAPE. Women are apparently possessions to these people. Is this truly the gold standard of morality that theists want us to believe it is? Has the Christian right even sat down and read their Bibles?

As for the claim that our LAWS are based on Judeo-Christian values I submit to you the very simple story of the wise King Solomon and the baby he demands be sawn in half. I can hear the theists reading this screaming already "BUT THE BABY ISN'T KILLED, HE DOES THIS TO BLAH BLAH BLAH" - I KNOW but the story is still absurd and would never slide in an American court. Could you imagine how outrageous it would be? The Judge would be disbarred immediately!

The story, for those who don't know, is about two women who come before King Solomon both claiming ownership of the same infant. Solomon sees no way to determine who truly is the Mother and rightful guardian so he suggests the infant be cut in half so each woman could have a half of the baby. Amazingly only ONE woman immediately cries out that this is a terrible idea. Why did the other one want the baby if she was okay with it being cut in half?

Many Christians claim that it is the NEW testament we base our laws on but this is not true. In this they may have a point, after all the Apostle Paul tells Slaves or Obey their masters in Colossians 3:22 and slavery was, unfortunately, a part of this country's laws. So on that point they can claim they are right but then again its not exactly good to want slavery is it? More on that in my next post (which will be about, you guessed it, slavery in the Bible).

Another repugnant claim made is that we are one nation Under God and that In God We Trust should be our motto. Many folks believe those words with as much conviction as they believe in Jesus himself or that the sun will rise tomorrow. Little do they know that it wasn't added to our coins until a surge of religiosity during the Civil War and it wasn't added to paper money until another surge during the anti-Communist era (in 1957). Three years before that, in 1954, was when the words UNDER GOD were added to the pledge in order to set us apart from the "godless" communists. Neither motto or idea are originally American and neither reflect the Freedom of Religion that forms a corner-stone of our society.

America is NOT a Christian nation...

I present you with the words of Thomas Paine, one of the free thinkers that led to the American Revolution and his thoughts on the Bible:

"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind; and, for my part, I sincerely detest it, as I detest everything that is cruel." - From Thomas Paine's the Age of Reason

That's exactly what we are still in need of Thomas, an Age of Reason, we didn't see it in your lifetime and I'm still waiting for it in mine. We still live in a world guided by the superstitious and fearful, the indoctrinated sheep who grow old believing in fairy tales. But I digress...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Yahweh is a Bad Father

Today we look at God from the perspective that he is, as the Lord's prayer says, Our Father who art in Heaven. What if God is a cosmic sky daddy? How would we rate his performance when it comes to raising the human race to be a mature and responsible species?

In the last installment we talked about Adam and Eve and how badly God's parenting skills went over there. In the installment before that we touched upon the Great Flood, where God attempted to kill all his disobedient offspring but save only the righteous children in a giant boat that THEY had to build themselves.

So the first characteristic we can point out, as is obvious from my first blogpost, is that God is infanticidal (if that’s even a word). Is it possible the Lord Almighty was suffering from some Postpartum Depression? Or was Yahweh just performing an after birth abortion? A bit odd considering most of his modern day Christian followers are anti-abortion or pro-life as its called, don't they know their own deity attempted to abort all of them, aside from Noah and his obedient family.

Soon after this Abraham comes along with his son Isaac. Abraham is generally a good guy and he's pretty obedient to the Lord. One day Yahweh decides to test Abe to see just how gullible, I mean obedient, the poor sap - I mean righteous man - is. God tells Abe to get his son Isaac and take him up to an altar and sacrifice him to God. This is one of the first times Yahweh condones/demands human sacrifice (more on that later). Abraham is about to go through with this when God stops him. This is one of the most frightening tales of the Bible and all it does is warn us about religious fanaticism. People who hear the "voice" of God in their heads are likely to do stupid and downright evil things. If we view God as the parent or Grandparent to Isaac in this scenario his conduct is still morally reprehensible and baffling as can be.

Next the Israelites, God's chosen people, are left languishing in the desert for forty some years. Sure God occasionally makes them a meal of mana from Heaven but it hardly makes up for the generations he left them as slaves to Egypt and then the forty years he left them wandering in the desert.

So already we have a very strange trend, God, rather than loving all his children equally, seems to bless only the righteous, but that's a trend that's about to change.

JOB. The Book of Job starts out by telling us there was a man in the land of Uz, which is a bit like Oz I guess except nothing good happens there. The book says that Job is blameless and upright, not like those sinners who spend so much time on their backs. He has ten children but Job worries that they are sinners and is so nice and loving that he sacrifices animals on their behalf just in case (I imagine it gives him an excuse to grill up some more food, as a sweet aroma to the Lord of course).

Job has been, as the Bible says, blessed. He's obedient to the Lord in every way. So Job is the equivalent of a very obedient child to his Father and the Father has thus spoiled the child with good things. Satan comes in, think of him as Job's sinister Uncle, and points out to Job's Father (God) that Job wouldn't be so prone to praising him if he hadn't spoiled the darn kid with so much cool stuff. As soon as Satan utters these words God hands over permission to take away EVERYTHING Job has. Satan, it is worth noting, never actually requests this power, Satan mentions how if Job didn't have all of this blessings he would curse God in verse 11 and in verse 12 God voluntarily hands over permission to take it all away WITHOUT BEING ASKED DIRECTLY.

Satan kills off everything and everyone Job loves. God, the Father, has a bit of a change of heart in Chapter 2:3 saying Satan incited him against Job "for no good reason" even though Satan never directly asked for permission to strike down everything Job owned.

Job eventually gets around to questioning what God has done to him despite his righteousness and only after going on a tirade about how big and powerful he is does God bless Job again.

So we see that God will punish even the most obedient of his children.

The Bible and Human Sacrifice

I was going to save this for the next blog post but seeing as how I already brought it up I figured I'd crucify two birds with one cross here. We've taken a brief look at the Binding of Isaac account featured in Genesis 22 but it would be nearly criminal of me not to mention the story of Jephthah.

Jeph, according to the Bible, was a mighty warrior, his Father's name was Gilead, his Mother was a prostitute and so the Bible doesn't give her a name, because who cares about hookers right? His family drive him out in order to keep him from his inheritance. He spends some time fighting, since he is meant to be a badass. Then in Judges Chapter 11 verse 29-31 the "Spirit" of the Lord comes over him. Jeph swears to the Lord that if God delivers the Ammonites into his hands he will sacrifice the first thing that comes out of his house when he returns in triumph.

The poor sap hasn't thought this through, probably because the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and confused him. Of course he beats the Ammonites and returns home and the first thing out of his door, HIS DAUGHTER. Amazingly his daughter is aware of his promise and agrees to be sacrificed to Yahweh as long as she is given two months to weep for her virginity (Judges 11:36-38). She returns after that time and according the Bible Jephthah "did to her as he had vowed".

The alternative, of course, was for Yahweh to fail Jephthah and let him die or be captured in battle, or tell him to retreat, or warn his daughter, or make sure a goat, ram or sheep came out of the door first, or. You get the idea, Yahweh is omnipotent and all knowing, his possible routes for avoiding this human sacrifice are therefore infinite and yet he allows it to go through and allows this poor woman to die a virgin on a sacrificial altar.

In Deuteronomy 13 an entire village is "put to the torch" as a "burnt offering" to God.

There are a handful of other human sacrifice accounts in the Bible but its not something Yahweh indulges in often. Its not quite as popular with him, as say, commanding that babies be killed or sending people to Hell.

So there you have it, a double whammy of the Bible's pitiful nonsense pointed out.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Yahweh is a Failure

What's on the menu for today? More exploration of the brilliance of Yahweh the Biblical God, that's what. Readers of the Bible may or many not have realized just how badly God's track record is when it comes to, well, everything. It seems one draw back of creating other beings with free will, even if you retain an omnipotent nature, is that those beings ALWAYS mess up your plans.

Case in point, Eden.

God creates two people to be in the Garden (depending upon which Creation account you go with and whether you count Lilith, Adam's first wife) and gives them free will but Yahweh, wanting to keep them pure, opts not to grant them the ability to tell right from wrong. With no moral compass of any kind Adam and Eve are like toddlers who haven't had any moral guidance. Much like a parent warning a child not to touch a hot stove or play in the street God tells Adam and Eve of a certain tree they aren't met to eat from.

Yahweh has planted poison right in the middle of Utopia but rather than uproot the tree, wish it out of existence or find some other Garden for his new primate pals he decides to offer Adam and Eve a warning. Unfortunately Adam and Eve have no way of determining that eating the fruit is wrong. Yes they know its not smart because God tells them it will kill them if they eat it but a consequence of death. God, again imitating a human parent, has stretched the truth, because as we will see later, Adam and Eve taste of the fruit and do not die.

Yahweh has his plans ruined by a snake, who apparently he has also given free will to, not to mention the ability of speech. In fact according to genesis the serpent was the craftiest creature God had fashioned. I guess God wanting to give the serpent some wits backfires. The snake, for reasons left unexplained by Genesis itself (and later blamed on the devil), is determined to seduce Eve into eating the fruit. Eve resists, like a good little girl, but in the end she has no moral compass and the serpent promises her the fruit will open her eyes like God's eyes are opened.

It is important to note her that the Serpent is telling the truth while Yahweh, who is suspiciously absent from the Garden while all this is happening, lied about the consequences of eating the fruit. Eve, with no mechanism with which to discern her action is wrong decides to believe the snake and shares the fruit with Adam.

Yahweh's actions after this truly cast doubt on his character. Let's go back to that analogy of the parent warning the child of the stove's heat - imagine for a moment if the child touched the stove even after the warning. Most parents would be disappointed in their child but more concerned with the child's injury and wellbeing than with the fact they disobeyed. God is not like a loving parent though, he is furious with Adam and Eve. I guess ignorance of the law is no excuse and neither is ignorance of the concepts of good and evil. Yahweh is so angry he decides to curse not just Adam and Eve but all their descendants, they must toil in the fields, endure horrible pain in child birth and leave the utopian Eden forever.

Many believers also claim that from this moment forward every living human is born dead in sin. This is, of course, not mentioned anywhere in the Genesis account but Christians the world over still choose to interpret it this way. It is much easier to indoctrinate a child if you tell them they are already a sinner, I suppose, threatening a child with hellfire unless they accept the blood sacrifice of an innocent man... and this is a MAINSTREAM religion.

So Yahweh fails miserably and in his anger toward those he blames for his failures he curses his creation, which just a few chapters earlier he assured himself was "Good". It doesn't take long, now that sin has been introduced, for human beings to spread over the Earth and become sinful. God could have simply forgiven Adam and Eve and taken back their knowledge of Good and Evil, He is, after all, ALL POWERFUL. But no, such action would be far too merciful for Yahweh. Instead He allows sin to continue unabated and after it finally builds to a breaking point his decision is to, as most of us remember from Sunday School, drown pretty much everything.

Another proof that free will mucks up God's plans is in the story of Job, where Satan's free will ends up costing Job everything he has aside from his life. The story goes like this, Satan comes to Yahweh and Yahweh, the braggart that he is, brings up Job. Job is a righteous and good man who has been blessed by God and God enjoys bragging about how much of a kiss-ass Job is. Satan admits that Job is quite the servant of Yahweh but makes the claim that Job's loyalty is based upon the blessings Yahweh bestowed upon him. Satan seduces God into handing power over Job over to Satan.

In Chapter 2 verse 3 God even says to Satan that he has been "incited" against Job "for no good reason". There are lot's of interpretations of the Job story but most of them ignore this verse and claim that the book of Job teaches nonsense about God's power and love... Yahweh has already admitted to his crime, what he allowed happen to Job had no good reason, Satan TRICKED him.

And finally we fast forward to Jesus. Yahweh, now split into three persons, has decided the best way to clear the sins of mankind (rather than instantaneously forgiving them using his ALL POWERFUL merciful nature) is to send one third of himself to get nailed to a piece of wood and then spring back to life. Even though this plan goes off without a hitch God now has the free will of billions of human beings standing between him and his goal of saving EVERYONE. What's worse is that Jesus has left no substantial evidence of his existence, crucifixion or resurrection aside from unsubstantiated religious documents written by scribes a generation AFTER the events supposedly took place.

To make matters worse by the time these Gospels are being written there are already numerous sects following the so-called Messiah and interpreting his "teachings" differently. Yahweh now must trust human beings, with their free will, to choose gullibility over evidence and put their faith in Jesus as opposed to hundreds of other Messiah's and thousands of other deities and religions. God, in the end, will have to send the majority of humanity into a Lake of Fire for ETERNITY (because Heavens super-max prisons must already be full).

In short, Yahweh fails, miserably. So how do his followers explain his All Powerful buffoonery? By pretending He's a flawless and wonderful being despite the evidence to the contrary - evidence that's right there in their "Holy" book and the good news is they have the free will to determine for themselves what to believe.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Yahweh is a Baby Killer

Today I'd like to talk about Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament, also sometimes referred to as El, Elohim, the big G, the alpha the omega, you get the idea. In particular I want to focus on the peculiar tendency of Yahweh to either kill, or command his people to kill, innocent children. I think that first its important to establish that according to most current Christian theology a child below a certain age cannot be held accountable for their sins. In the old testament however it seems the sins of the father really are passed onto the sons and Yahweh doesn't even shed a tear as he visits horrible punishment against innocent children.

If any one of us decided to kill a kid, for whatever reason, you can bet we'd end up in prison for the rest of our lives. Yahweh, on the other hand, abides by an apparently different set of rules. What would constitute a sin of the highest order if a mortal committed it is apparently not a sin when a Holy and Loving God commits it. There in lies the conundrum as far as I'm concerned, exactly how does killing a child become LESS sinful when the being committing it is MORE Holy? Shouldn't it be the other way around? Should Yahweh really be allowed to breach his own commandments with impunity (and command the Israelites to do the same)?

Let's take a look at case number 1 from Samuel 15 Verse 1-3:
1 Samuel said to Saul, "I am the one the LORD sent to anoint you king over his people Israel; so listen now to the message from the LORD. 2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.' "

Here is God commanding that the Israelites go out and slaughter and once again God must appoint a metatron, a prophet, to speak for him. Apparently Yahweh had laryngitis that week and had to hire a helper. Apologists will likely be quick to scream "Wait, the Amalekites deserved to be punished, the verse even says they came against the Israelites". On some level they are right, if the Amalekites were being bad maybe some of them do deserve punishment but what God is commanding here is total genocide. Surely the animals and infants the Amalekites possessed were not evil or deserving of death. And why is God, supposedly loving and merciful, not drawing up plans to form an alliance with the Amalekites. Yahweh could have found a way to cause repentance amongst the Amalekites, making them give up their idols to serve Him. Instead of finding a way to achieve peace or punishing ONLY those who can be held morally responsible for what happened to the Israelites God decides the best bet is to slaughter babies.

This time God doesn't get involved in the baby killing himself, I guess Yahweh doesn't want to get his hands dirty now that he has a posse of powerful warriors to do his infanticidal work for him. But here is the iconic example that is brought up nearly every time a non-theist or non-christian gets into a debate with a fundamentalist... that's right ladies and gents, EXODUS.

The book is filled with God's injustice against the Egyptians. I think its an ultimate testament to Yahweh's outstanding hypocrisy that he frees the Hebrews and adopts them as his people only to turn around and allow them to keep slaves (Leviticus 25:44-46). Right in Exodus 21 there is even talk of keeping HEBREW SLAVES for a few years at a time. So apparently God's people don't have an issue enslaving themselves. I have to mention that slavery was not the Pharaoh's only sin by far, he also went on a baby slaughtering campaign against the Hebrews to prevent an eventual uprising as the slaves grew too numerous. So when Pharaoh does it baby killing is evil (let's see how that plays out).

God decides to speak to Moses, formerly an adoptive part of the Egyptian royalty, in the form of a burning bush. Moses is meant to free his people and so he heads into town thinking that I am that I am guy is crazy for picking him. God begins unleashing plagues on Egypt when Pharaoh refuses to let his work force go free.

There are several opportunities for Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go and each time he nearly goes through with it, but Yahweh, as if just dying to bathe in baby blood, keeps hardening Pharaoh's heart. Seriously read Exodus, God repeatedly hardens Pharaoh's heart to stop the man from letting the Hebrews go! Rather than bringing Pharaoh to repentance God is consumed with desire for petty vengeance against the would-be God-King of Egypt. How loving and merciful is this guy, sending boils, frogs, flies and fire from the heavens upon the Egyptian citizens who, for the most part, are entirely innocent. The majority of Egyptians can't afford slaves, what did they do to incur the wrath of Yahweh? About as much as their children did... And yet Yahweh decides to punish the children with the ultimate price instead of punishing the man responsible for Pharaoh's stubbornness - HIMSELF.

Yahweh heads out at night and kills the firstborn of Egypt. When God does it believers view it as an act of divine justice, when Pharaoh did it it was just plain evil. So when a loving God sheds the blood of the innocent its okay, as long as he has petty revenge as an excuse.

You might think that Exodus is the first time Yahweh has dipped his deviant hands in the blood of the innocent, you'd be wrong. Remember that Noah guy, you know the one who built the boat? Well Noah and his family survived the Flood right? What about everyone else?

So what have we learned today? Well today we learned that Yahweh, the God of the Bible, doesn't mind the killing of children when either he is the one doing it or he is the one commanding it. So keep your Bible close but your babies closer.