Tuesday, March 3, 2015

God's Skeletons I

Over the years I have come across the opinions of a great number of folks who did not believe in the Christian God. When asked why they do not believe in the creator of the universe as detailed in the Bible, it is not uncommon to hear responses such as:
  • Only a truly evil being could order the extermination of entire nations of men, women, and children.
  • What kind of sadistic madman would torture those that he did not judge worthy by consigning them to agonize for all eternity in a lake of fire?
One of the central tenets of Christianity is that God is love. Without this truth, this religion quickly crumbles to worthless dust. If this point should fall, there is nothing salvageable or beautiful in the Bible. But the Bible seemingly does talk about God ordering his chosen people to eradicate the Canaanites whose land they are apparently invading:

However, in the cities of the nations the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance, do not leave alive anything that breathes. Deuteronomy 20:16

Also, the Bible seemingly talks about God casting all unbelievers into an agonizing torture chamber for all eternity:

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:15

If God is love as he claims and which is a cornerstone of Christianity, then something doesn't seem to make sense. Is God a sadistic torturer? Coldhearted judge? Geocidal maniac? What perfect creature of light would order the cold-blooded murder of every man, woman, and child in an entire city? What being would take every single person who never knew him or heard of him and subject them to roasting in a fire pit, taking pleasure in their endless horror? If this is true, then God is not who Christians claim him to be. If true, then God has a few skeleton's hiding in his closet. However, what if it turns out that these verses and others like them do not say what it seems at first glance like they do? These questions are pondered in the book The Skeletons in God's Closet by Joshua Ryan Butler.

(Part 1 of 2)