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EvolveOrConvolve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 04:31 PM
Original message
Violence in the Bible
I was browsing the internet and came across this site:

http://www.humanismbyjoe.com/Violence_and_God.htm

It's understandable that people are apprehensive about possible effects of violent entertainment. What's unclear is why so few are similarly troubled by the widespread promotion of violent Bible teachings. Violent religious ideas, presented as unquestionably true, are much more likely to influence people to behave violently than mere entertainment.

The Bible's potential to instigate violence stems, in large part, from its claims that God committed or ordered violent acts, while at the same time it describes him as perfect,{1} righteous,{2} just,{3} gracious,{4} merciful,{5} compassionate,{6} and loving.{7}

Because God is said to possess exemplary characteristics but still commits or orders violence, his followers may decide they can behave similarly and still be good people. They might even think they have a religious duty to follow his violent example.

The American patriot Thomas Paine referred to the development of such attitudes when he said, "The belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man."{8}



It goes on to illustrate about 200 examples of violence in the Bible, many instances of which are directly attributable to god or jesus.

I understand that many people don't read the Bible as the literal word of god, but even so, how do christians justify the violence meted out by a supposedly peaceful god? I'd like to invite any christians who might be lurking to respond. It's a question asked in seriousness, and I'm hoping for thoughtful responses. How is all the violence rationalized?

(I was going to post this in the R&T forum, but I guess I'm still a little hazy about where the "demeaning" line lies)
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
1. Literally they blame themself
Because those killed chose to turn their back on god and defy him they are worthy of death. Its the same reason the argument is forced on us that we choose not to believe in god and defy him.

God is always justified in his actions. Whether it is ordering the eviceration of pregnant women or destroying the entire population of the world. They were wrong and its his world in the first place.
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soleft Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 04:37 PM
Response to Original message
2. I don't know too many people who think god is peaceful
they may think God loves them and wants the best for them, if they're obedient, but know he'll kick the shit out of them the first chance he gets. Kind of like an alcoholic dad.
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EvolveOrConvolve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Actually, many christian DUers claim that god is a peaceful deity
Especially when arguing against the Iraq War. I've also heard many christians IRL that annoint jesus the "Prince of Peace".

Those attitudes are directly opposite of the biblical god that, to be honest, was a pretty cruel fellow. This brings up another question for christians: will god torture us atheists for eternity for our disbelief, and if so, what have we done outside being atheists to deserve that treatment?
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soleft Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. my sense is a lot of Christian DUers are newagers
who don't take the bible literally, my post I guess was more about the Bible itself and those who take it as a instruction manual.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. There is an active effort to distance themself from the OT
Edited on Fri Sep-30-05 05:03 PM by Az
Not all denoms. But there are bibles published out there with just the NT in it (I had ten of these dumped on my car once).

If it wasn't for the first chapter many would love to jettison the OT. But to satisfy the claims of divinity of Jesus they are tied to Genesis and original sin.
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Bill McBlueState Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 05:14 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. wow, ten!
I wonder if that was supposed to make you ten times less offensive to their god?
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soleft Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. what sucks about that
is by trying to adapt ancient texts to make them more palatable they actually lose the value of the mythology. The violence that is in the scripture if taken allegorically is about internal, psychological struggles and evolution of the mind.
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onager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 06:56 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Speaking of ancient texts, some hope...
Lost Greek classics are now turning up in Persian or Arabic translation in Muslim libraries in India.

Well now! I bet that includes some of the classics burned by the various Xian/Muslim religious fanatics who attacked the libraries in Alexandria, Granada and ancient Tehran.

Bwa-ha-ha! Humans win and gawds lose again!

(I found that on a BBC website. It was in a FAQ about that fascinating series which re-traced the route of Alexander The Great.)
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 11:00 PM
Response to Reply #3
10. The "logic" goes like this:
No, of course being finite beings we cannot commit an infinite sin that would necessarily require an infinite punishment.

What we have actually done in sinning (and not repenting) is turn away from god and say we want no part of him. So when we die, we get our wish, and hell is just the absence of god, making it infinitely painful and horrible.

All for guessing wrong, or worse, following our god-given reasoning abilities to conclude he doesn't exist. So it's not really any more logical than infinite punishment for finite sin. But it is to many Christians.
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EvolveOrConvolve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 11:40 AM
Response to Reply #10
13. Here's a vexing questions
Is the christian god above sin? When he commits an act of murder, is he turning from himself?
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PinkUnicorn Donating Member (546 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 02:12 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Three for the price of one
As far as the Christian god goes, you have father, son and ghost all rolled into 'the one true God'. I suspect this amalgamation was to 'one up' the pagan gods with an single super-god instead of several lesser ones.

So given that there are at least three voices in a single head he could quite easily turn from himself, or at least blame one of the others.
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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 05:21 PM
Response to Reply #13
17. Not vexing at all.
Right in the bible, if we are to believe it, are many stories showing where god has committed murder and even genocide. The story of Noah's ark is obviously the worst of them all.

It would appear that the Christian god has a strict set of rules for us, but they don't apply to him. You know, your question just made me think of an interesting project: take the 10 commandments, then leaf through the bible to find where each of them was either A) broken by god, or B) broken by a person who was ordered by god to break it, or with whom god did not get angry.

Of course, "good" Christians will have an easy explanation for each one at the ready. God has never "murdered" someone, he had a very important reason each time someone died at his hand or at the hands of his followers, etc.

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trotsky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 10:57 PM
Response to Reply #2
9. "...like an alcoholic dad"
LMAO
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ismnotwasm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Sep-30-05 11:26 PM
Response to Original message
11. I'm not a christian
But I believe that once the birth or Jesus for those who considered him the messiah, what is called (I think) mosaic law ended. That's the old codified stuff in the old testament. Jesus himself made some pretty controversial statements as far as violence. But he also used old established knowledge--(that treat others as you yourself wish to be treated is way, way older that Jesus)That seem to promote peace. The other thing is at the time, you we're kind of stuck in the religion or caste, -if you will- that you were in. Jesus said "all may follow me" kind of an equalizer. From some reading I've done, this is what really pissed the Romans off, as well as when after his death, Paul stated telling everybody "Jesus was the only way" (I'm shooting off the top of my head here, I don't have any references with me) Romans had a lotta Gods.

I also understand that once the Christian were done being persecuted, they immediately started persecuting each other, so several sub christian groups like the heretics or the Gnostic's were wiped out. Lots of knowledge was deliberately wiped out or suppressed. And the victorious groups made the religion they wanted.

A good resource for me is Elaine Pagels. She was a tenured
theologian for Yale or some ivy league school and had a "crisis of faith" when she lost her husband in a hiking accident. She's written several books that look at Christianity pretty much straight on. She deals with misinterpreted words and ideas. I like her a lot. She address the role of women and also the concept of "duality"-- in other words how we ended up with a devil man--Which doesn't seem to be the original intent. I don't know if she ever regained her faith, I do know she's considered a bit of a radical.
Didn't answer your question, Did I? Just a little speculation
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EvolveOrConvolve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #11
12. Thanks for the reply, ismnotwasm
I understand that most people consider the NT to be the "true" Bible, while the OT is old law. However, what happened to the vengeful, cruel god depicted in the OT? Did he/she/it take anger management classes between the OT and NT? Is the NT god even the same deity depicted in the OT?

It mystifies me how christians can rationalize the violence ordered and committed by god/jesus in the Bible. The link I posted included plenty of examples of needless violence in the NT, so although the OT is far worse, the NT has it's fair share of killing. The NT examples that bother me are the threats of torture and killing; they are oddly similar to the violent aspects of the Qu'ran. Maybe god's earthly incarnation is the BTK killer?
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 03:25 PM
Response to Reply #12
15. This is troubling
Because the bible is clear in saying that god does not change. Thus the things he considered good in the OT are still good in the NT. Thus it is arguable that god things it is good to stone a man to death for picking up sticks on the sabbath. Whether any person is pure enough to to do so (the Jesus loophole) is irrelevant. God still thinks it is good to kill people for wearing blended fabrics and other nonsense.
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EvolveOrConvolve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 06:11 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. Good point AZ
I remember being taught that the biblical god was infallible and unchanging, which directly contradicts the claims of christians that the NT overrides OT law. They can't have it both ways.

Most christians today consider the ten commandments to be "God's Law", and even fight to have those damn monuments erected everywhere. If the ten commandments are still relevant, why not the rest of the OT? And who decides which rules are ignored and which are still to be followed?
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ismnotwasm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 04:04 AM
Response to Reply #12
19. I believe that Islam, Judaism and Christianity
All share parts of the old testament. I am solidly agnostic. The reason why is I love reading about religions, a little hobby of mine, and other than some good advice some of them offer for living, not one of them make any damn sense. I haven't been reading lately and I've forgotten a bunch of stuff, but Jesus was supposed to fufill old testament prophecy. So you suffer in this world, but get the goodies in the next. I do know that the early followers of Jesus expected the rapture to occur in their lifetimes.

Another thing that bugs me: The entire book of Job. So Satan and God are sitting talking, and God says "see my servant Job, (starts bragging on how devout he is) So Satan says "let me at him and we'll see how he keeps his faith. So God lets Satan do all this horrible shit to that poor man, in what is basically a bet.

If I wanted to be nasty, and I really don't,-- I try to respect people's beliefs,-- I would point out that God had to slaughter his own son in one of the most barbaric ways imaginable to get our attention. Now he's God, right? So he kills his own child to "save" us? He couldn't think up anything better? If God leads by example, His example was violent. No wonder we ended up with the "dark ages" The Christian religion was spread by conquest and violence. The Catholic church, last I knew, considered the Eucharist to be the ACTUAL body and blood of Christ. Cannibalism. Gross.
Plus a little research shows the virgin birth and holy sacrifice myth present in older cultures.
I believe what progressive Christians try to do is see everything as allegory. Even the violence. Jesus did say some cool, profound things, and those are the things you hear. I don't see many Christians giving up their worldly goods, however.

The early Christian Gnostic's thought that the God of the old testament was insane, and that Jesus came to save us from this insane God. In their belief system part of the actual "real" God had a female aspect, Sophia, I think her name was. So maybe the violence in the bible was deliberately preserved, since the document was kind of cherry picked together, with lots of things left out. (any references to female deities chief among them) And the Gnostic's were wiped out. The reason? People control of course. And it's worked for a couple of thousand years, and shows no signs of slowing.
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JNelson6563 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-02-05 04:30 PM
Response to Original message
16. It is what lit my path
to atheism. It is one of the least enlightemed books ever. Funny to see the mental gymanstics used to jsutify all the garbage in it.

Julie
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onager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 11:08 AM
Response to Original message
20. Your one-stop clearinghouse for this topic...
http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com /

Just click on the link "Cruelty And Violence."

Recently updated to show Xian responses/excuse-making...which is more than you'll ever see on most Xian apologetics sites.
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EvolveOrConvolve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 05:35 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Wow, excellent link
I think I've found more ammo for my internet skirmishes.

Thanks, onager. :toast:
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 05:37 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. Its not just the bible
It also has sections on the Quran and the book of Mormon.
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EvolveOrConvolve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 05:57 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. I noticed those sections as well, and they are referenced pretty well.
I grew up mormon, so I'm well educated in the bullshit in the Book of Mormon.

I've also read through much of the Qu'ran, and consider it one of the most violent and least enlightened pieces of religious literature ever written. Either the translation I had was rotten, or the writing is incredibly bad; I returned the damn book to the library after about a week - it was terrible.
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progressoid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-03-05 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #20
24. I need to read that site a little more. I keep forgetting it exists.
Thanks!
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NMMNG Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 04:28 AM
Response to Original message
25. Oh yes
The Bible is chock full of violence (as well as incest, rape, adultery, etc.). It always astounds me how some people will refuse to let their children read classic literature or popular novels because they are "filthy" and "violent", yet proudly sit them down to read the Bible. :eyes:
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goddess40 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 10:56 AM
Response to Original message
26. My 11 year old niece loves the violence in the bible
when she was four she was at my house sitting at the counter eating a bowl of ice cream. She set down her spoon and slowly looked at me and calmly said "if I were an angel I'd come down from heaven and kill you all for ruining my life" She then went back to eating her ice cream.

Two days ago, now 11, she gleefully told of some fat king in the bible that was stabbed with a small knife which was swallowed up by the kings fat. She said you could see the point of the knife sticking out the dead guys back. Both she and her mother (my sister) agreed that he needed to die because he was evil.

This sister is "home schooling" because the public schools are evil and she wants her children to have a "biblical mind". School consists of my sister sitting on her ass and the kids coloring, watching videos or playing on the computer.

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EvolveOrConvolve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-04-05 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. Holy crap that's scary
I'll bet your sister was one of those people that screamed bloody murder when Janet Jackson's nipple popped out for 1/10th of a second on national TV.

What does your sister think about violent video games, TV programs, movies, etc. Does she allow your niece to watch those?
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goddess40 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-05 10:25 AM
Response to Reply #27
28. she previews every book, tv show and movie before her kids see them
They aren't allowed to believe in Santa or the Easter bunny nor can the trick or treat. She even puts up a note on their door to warn others that more children die on Halloween than on any other night.

I'm sure she wasn't pleased over the Janet incident but thankfully I didn't hear about it.
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immoderate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-05 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #28
30. Prediction: Your neice will join us.
Or some other strong reaction.

--IMM
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goddess40 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-07-05 09:39 AM
Response to Reply #30
31. I hope you are right
My sister's oldest daughter (19) may be coming around but I had much more influence when she was younger. She would come and spend time with me a week at a time, this second litter my sister had she keeps much closer to her so no one can interfere with her brainwashing. The niece I talk about here is no slouch - she's smart and I again hope you are right.
I have always said with her imagination she could be the next Stephen King.
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Az Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Oct-05-05 10:35 AM
Response to Reply #26
29. Sounds like something out of Clockworg Orange
Alex's dreams of whipping Jesus come to mind.
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