The HyperTexts

Is God a Bigot? The Embarrassing Intolerance of God

by Michael R. Burch

Let’s assume, for the sake of avoiding argument, that Jesus Christ is God, as Christians claim, or that Jesus and God are, at the very least, intimately related, with Jesus being the unique Son of God and therefore his appointed Heir and Representative.

Can someone be his own Heir and Representative? Of course it’s confusing to think of God as having three distinct minds and personalities. If a man had three distinct personalities, we’d call him insane. When Jesus was God in the flesh and presumably knew everything (this is, after all, why Christians cling to every word he said) still it seems he really didn’t know everything because he prayed to God (?) saying, "Not my will, but Thine!" and he freely confessed that he didn’t know the day and hour of his own return. Verses in the New Testament make it abundantly clear that Jesus and his disciples expected his return to take place quickly. It is less than confidence-inspiring that Jesus and Paul were convinced that Jesus was going to return within Paul’s lifetime; what if they were wrong about other things too? One of the most damning verses in the New Testament can be found in Revelation chapter two, where John of Patmos confidently proclaimed that Jesus would return to murder the children of an adulteress who was living at that time. Now, it seems strange for the Prince of Peace to assassinate children for being related to a woman who was having extramarital sex (is that "just"?), but who am I to question the Bible, since everyone knows it’s "infallible"? Rather than quibbling over such trifles as whether Jesus was a compassionate man or an unjust, child-killing monster, let’s take a look at something that’s indisputably a problem for God and his PR people, the Christians (or are they his hatchet men?) . . .

We simply must consider the embarrassing intolerance of God. While Christians are determined to profess their infinite inferiority to God, it’s quite obvious that the reverse is actually true: the average "sinner" is much more tolerant than his God. After all, the God of the Bible was obviously racist (he preferred Jews to non-Jews), intolerant (he preferred Christians to non-Christians), and sexist (he said fathers could sell their daughters as sex slaves, with the option — but not the obligation! — to buy them back if they weren’t "pleasing" to their new masters). The God of the Bible was homophobic, as are his most fervent followers, to this day. If Yahweh showed up here on earth, we’d have to cart him off to the slammer or send him to the electric chair, in order to protect our minorities, women and children.

The first five books of the Bible were allegedly written by Moses, the great Hebrew prophet and lawgiver. But according to the Bible, Moses was a mass murderer and hardly an authority on matters of justice. In Numbers chapter thirty-one, Moses commanded his warriors to slaughter defenseless woman and male babies, keeping only virgin girls alive, obviously as sex slaves. In Deuteronomy chapter twenty-two, Moses commanded that girls who had been raped should be murdered or sold to their rapists (meaning they could be raped "legally" the rest of their lives). How can anyone believe the "infallible" wisdom of men who treated raped girls like criminals? The Hebrew Bible allowed murderers to obtain mercy by clinging to the horns of an altar. But it had no such provision for girls who had been raped, or for boys who were to be stoned to death if they were "stubborn" or "rebellious" or cursed their parents. All the boys I knew growing up were stubborn and rebellious, and we all cursed our parents at times, whether to their faces or behind their backs.  According to the "wisdom" of Moses, our parents should have murdered us on the spot.

If God is good, why does the Bible command infanticide, matricide and genocide (the "slaying of everything that breathes")? If King David was the man after God’s own heart, why does the Bible say he slew every woman when he "smote the land"? Why does the Bible say David ordered the slaughter of the lame and blind because he "hated" them? Jesus had compassion on the handicapped; David had them murdered when Jerusalem was taken from the Jebusites. If Jesus was a man after God’s own heart, then clearly David was not. The Bible is full of such contradictions, which cannot be resolved unless we admit that its "Satanic verses" could not have originated with a loving, wise, just God. Clearly, the palpably evil verses in the Bible originated with barbaric men.

Anyone who considers slavery to be an abomination cannot believe that the Bible is "infallible." After all, there is not a single Bible verse in which God, Jesus or any prophet or apostle clearly calls slavery an abomination. Today every modern human being knows slavery is an abomination. And yet no one who participated in the writing of the Bible managed to call a spade a spade. If the Bible is the "word of God," how is it possible that it commands and condones slavery time and time again and never clearly says otherwise?

Today millions of Christians continue to believe that racism, religious intolerance, sexism and homophobia are the "will of God." But if they considered the question of slavery for half a second, how could they fail to "see the light"? If an all-loving, all-wise, all-just God have given human beings his divine word, then obviously there would be clear injunctions against slavery in the Bible. But there aren’t. So why do Christians insist that they know the "truth" in other matters? If their "god" is so woefully inept that he can’t clearly call slavery an abomination, isn’t it clear that the Bible is a very human book?

If the Bible is wrong about slavery, why believe its commandments that cause so many Christians to be racist, intolerant, sexist and homophobic? And as terrible as the Bible was in matters of earthly justice, there was never a single mention of a place called "hell" in Biblical chronologies covering thousands of years. The possibility of suffering after death were never even mentioned to Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob/Israel, Moses, or a long line of Hebrew prophets. If God ever spoke to the men who wrote the Bible, they certainly knew nothing about a place called "hell" or any possibility of suffering after death. And yet today millions of Christians claim to "know" that a place called "hell" exists, and they terrorize their own children with evil nonsense. But "hell" was clearly an invention of pagan Greek poets that was was later adopted by the early Roman Catholic church because it helped keep the ignorant, unwashed masses in line.

Isn’t it time for Christians to admit the truth about the Bible and stop torturing children with terror-inspiring nightmares of injustice, intolerance and sheer, unmitigated depravity?

The HyperTexts