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47 comments for “Honestly, God was Straight Up Gangsta!

  1. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 5:54 am

    I definitely agree that the whole “kill your son in my name, oh wait, you thought I was serious, j/k” move was the definition of dickish, but I also always thought the whole pillar of salt for looking over your shoulder was a pretty unequal reaction as well. Or for that matter, being a dick to Cain that his initial sacrifice wasn’t good enough (though I believe that story may in reality be an allegory for a conflict between a group practicing animal husbandry and a group that were farmers).

  2. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 6:04 am

    But God did NOT let him be killed. That’s the important point.

  3. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 7:40 am

    They left out the one where he flooded the entire world and killed everyone except six people and all the animals except for a pair of each type.

  4. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 10:44 am

    I always found the Abraham/Isaac story deeply disturbing. Also, it was a wonderful editorial selection for a children’s bible that we had when we were kids.

  5. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 11:07 am

    We always create gods in our own image. I guess the ancient Israelites weren’t exactly “My Little Pony.”

  6. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Being disturbed by the Abraham/Isaac misses its entire historical context. Child sacrifice was EXTREMELY common in pagan worship. God’s message to Abraham was: show Me that you are as faithful as these pagans are. And the key of course is that He doesn’t let Abraham kill his son.

  7. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Yes, if God had let Abraham kill his son, the moral of the story (have blind faith in God) would have been completely undermined.

  8. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 1:43 pm

    Moral of the story aside though, imagine the biblical literalists are right and that actually happened as told. It may be a good lesson in blind faith but it’s still incredibly dickish to ask your most devout follower to kill his own son, a son his wife had been too old to conceive without a miracle, for no better reason than to appease God.

  9. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I’m also shocked the story of Job didn’t make the list.
    Lucifer, already a fallen angel for being so prideful, a creature now bent on the corruption of man, doesn’t believe a faithful man will remain faithful under the stress of suffering. So God proves Lucifer wrong by inflicting an ever increasing amount of suffering on Job until God runs out of ways to torture the man. Sure, God proved Lucifer wrong, but the message I get out of that story is that the Corrupter pulled one over on God and made God torture one of his faithful for no good reason.

  10. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    “Everything He Did to Job” is #12

  11. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Most religions have stories about the gods being dicks. The Greek/Roman gods are probably the worst,

  12. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Just goes to show that superpowers don’t help with the compassion. Superman was a dick, too.

  13. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    absolute power corrupts absolutely

  14. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    To answer Will: It’s not that we don’t get context, it’s more that I think we just don’t like it even if that’s the message. The idea is “show you love me as much as the other people love their gods. Oh, ok, you proved it. You don’t have to go through with it.” and we find that dickish. Also, as the article points out, there are instances in the bible where God DOESN’T save the child. Isaac is just the one we hear about the most because he does. The article points to Jephthah, but doesn’t cite it (Judges 11:31). Judges has all kinds of nasty stuff in it. Leviticus too.

    Michael: Yeah, I originally was going to say something about Odin, Osirus and Zeus in my post but I couldn’t make ti as funny as I wanted, so i went with the Gangsta joke instead.

  15. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    Actually, once you take the Ten Commandments into consideration, it not only makes the Abraham story make sense but The Crusades (as well as all the other killings since then) that has ever been done in the name if God.
    In other words, thou shall not kill – except when it is from the word of God – then it’s okay because you are showing how faithful you are. They always leave that second part out… That must have been the part Mel brooks dropped. πŸ˜‰

  16. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 5:47 pm

    “Thou Shalt Not Murder”

  17. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    the commandments take an order of operations. Honoring God takes precedence over not killing. Not Killing takes precedence over not stealing… etc.

    I mean, that’s not to say that it doesn’t get contradicted anyway, but the Bible clearly shows that it’s not a sin to kill when God tells you to.

  18. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    (of course other biblical passages say that the sins are all equivalent… coveting is just as bad as killing)

  19. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I still haven’t figured out why an omniscient being requires Abraham to go through the motions of sacrificing Isaac. If he’s omniscient, he already knows if Abraham is sufficiently faithful.

  20. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    well, there aren’t just 10… those are just the commandments as enumerated by God on the tablets he gave to Moses at Sinai. Same story as in Judaism. It’s just that most theoretical christians don’t bother to read the entire bible and miss all the other ones.

    Leviticus is FULL of them, and the justification usually used for “homosexuality is a sin” (which the commandments obviously don’t say).

    Of course Leviticus also says you can’t go into the church if you have acne, as the article I link to pointed out.

  21. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Jeff: Omniscience isn’t really all it’s cracked up to be. Biblical God’s omniscience varies greatly from story to story. I mean, in theory, Adam and Eve shouldn’t have been able to disobey him. Nor should the serpent for that matter. It just turns out that omniscience is really hard to reconcile with free will. So generally it’s interpreted as “sure God, could make Abraham love him, but he gives him the power to choose and then is pleased when Abraham makes the right decision.”

    Of course, I actually don’t find that very comforting. I tend to think it feels way more dickish, and that’s why it bothers me. “I could make you love me. But I won’t. So prove you love me by killing that baby. I mean, you don’t have to. It’s your call. I probably won’t smite you or drown you or turn you into a pillar of salt or let you get eaten by a whale or anything like that. Really, it’ll be ok, just kill the baby” And after that, the fact that he goes “ok, I see you were going to do it. Don’t bother, just kill that goat instead.” doesn’t feel loving to me at all. It feels way puppet mastery

  22. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    Mav, I think you’re confusing omniscience with omnipotence. Omniscience doesn’t give God the ability to force love, but it does give him the ability to know whether love is there without using manipulative, passive-aggressive, abusive behavior.

  23. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I’m not confusing them at all. God is supposed to have both. He tends to use both selectively is what I’m saying

  24. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    Oh. I see. Yes I said omnipotent when I meant omniscience. I know what they mean. I just used the wrong word.

  25. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    But yes. In theory (to your question) he doesn’t NEED proof. But he often asks for it.

  26. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Along with the “in our image” point, a lot of this brutality is to-be-expected given the antiquity of the writings in question. What’s surprising to me is that some people today still talk about “the Bible” as “the source of our moral values”, a claim which doesn’t stand up to a moment’s scrutiny. Anyone who *actually* took such writings seriously as a moral code today would be immediately locked up to preserve the safety of everyone else.

  27. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    (On the theme of “comparatively peaceful for the historical period, I once wrote a quick essay on this:

  28. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    Steve Shaffer: I was responding to someone who thought it was nice that God did not make Abraham kill his son, implying that it wasn’t out of niceness but out of necessity for the “moral” of that story: why would anyone be blindly faithful to a god that would make them do something like kill their son out of pure arrogance? There’s no question it was a dickish move–psychological torture, really. People’s blind faith has done so much damage over the millenia…

  29. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 7:51 pm

    Stephanie: Actually, I’m not so sure. The moral to the story is really “obey god.” In this particular case it’s “obey God and it all turns out ok in the end,” but the bible is full of “obey God because that’s the right thing to do.” As pointed out earlier, Jephthah DOES end up killing his daughter for God.

    I think the fact that everything turns out “ok” in the end is what makes the Abraham story more popular though

  30. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 8:33 pm

    Jay Lloyd Neal – I’ll kill – uh, Murder you for that correction. πŸ™‚
    Chris Maverick – You obviously missed my original post. I KNOW there were originally more than 10 Commandments but then Mel Brooks dropped that 3rd tablet… πŸ™‚

  31. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    I know many may label God as being ‘dickish’ in the bible but I know much of said feelings can be attributed to a language barrier of the translation of the bible. I’ve studied many languages and am well aware that many times there isn’t a literal or even close to accurate translation for some words or phrases.

    That being said, if something made me question my religion or confused me while reading the bible I would delve further and research the questionable passage due to a difference in language morphology, different and older culture, etc.

    Turning Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt was one thing I did look into. Turns out (due to a language barrier) she not only looked back on the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but she desired to return to her possessions and old way of life. Moreover, (if i remember correctly, according to some manuscripts) she also was the cause of raising the ruckus in the city concerning the guests that visit Lot (which I won’t get into now considering it appears I’ve already written half a book of a comment which no one will likely read anyway).

    tl;dr: Sometimes a language barrier is the cause of people assuming God is a dick in the bible.

  32. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    The Ten Commandments, Deuteronomy, Leviticus, are not that popular these days among most who claim Christianity. Some folks have the notion that you can “believe” your way to paradise (ie. “Saved”) while still disobeying the basic tenets that are inconvenient. Pork rinds, crab cakes, shrimp scampi, working on Saturday, coveting married celebrities… all the kinds of things that can get you turned into a pillar of salt.

  33. avatar
    June 3, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    But dang… crab cakes taste sooooo much better with pillars of salt though…

  34. avatar
    June 4, 2014 at 1:59 am

    @Jordan, I agree that mistranslation (not just linguistically, but an incredible lack of cultural understanding and historical context) /can/ contribute to the appearance of God being a dick, but I also firmly believe that some of the stories simply can’t be interpreted in a way that does not paint God as a douche. But it’s not an actual commentary on God or any of the relevant religious texts (IMO), I believe it to be a commentary on the nature of mythology and how morality stories are told.

  35. avatar
    June 4, 2014 at 2:20 am

    Right. As per my post from the other day, most fairy tales are very douchey by modern morality. In the Lot’s wife case the lesson wasn’t supposed to be “look over your shoulder and god will kill you.” It was supposed to be “if you want kinky sex, god will kill you.”

    But to me that’s just as bad.

  36. avatar
    June 4, 2014 at 2:22 am

    and then Lot’s daughters…

  37. avatar
    June 4, 2014 at 2:23 am

    Kevin: you mean his rape decoys?

  38. avatar
    June 4, 2014 at 2:24 am

    No, I mean what happened in the hills outside of town after the smoke cleared.

  39. avatar
    June 4, 2014 at 2:24 am

    Oh… you mean when they raped him because he had tried to use them as rape decoys?

  40. avatar
    June 4, 2014 at 2:25 am

    (there’s a lot of rape in the Lot story)

  41. avatar
    June 4, 2014 at 2:26 am

    hmmm…keep in mind that the sins of the city that brought down the wrath was the perversion or kink or whatever you want to call it, it was the fact that they were inhospitable to the messengers.

  42. avatar
    June 4, 2014 at 2:28 am

    right… except Lot. Lot was very hospitable in a “hey, you look like you’ve had a rough trip, would you like to rape my daughters? that ought to take the edge off” kind of way.

  43. avatar
    June 4, 2014 at 2:28 am

    and I never thought his daughters raped him, they got him drunk and took advantage of his …um…stupidity.

  44. avatar
    June 4, 2014 at 2:29 am

    maybe his daughters weren’t the pristine vessels daddy thought them to be.

  45. avatar
    June 4, 2014 at 2:29 am

    well, they got him too drunk to know what was going on and then had sex with him. We call that rape these days.

  46. avatar
    June 4, 2014 at 2:30 am

    the first recorded incident of use of roofies?

  47. avatar
    June 4, 2014 at 8:37 am


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