I don’t like the God of the Old Testament…the God who exacts vengeance, wrath and destroys his enemies.
I take a lot of heat for that from some of my Christian* friends who seem to have some sort of cognitive dissonance when it comes to this particular issue.
If the God of the Old Testament is to be exalted and worshipped and emulated….why do most Evangelicals and Americans despise the Taliban? The Taliban is simply kicking it old school and keeping it real…Old Testament style.
Here’s what the Old Testament God either commanded, or when pressed Christians* will hedge and claim “allowed, but it’s not ideal! It’s not what God really wants, but he allowed it to be OK for a time” (OK, then maybe God is allowing homosexuality to be OK now? Ruh roh, they don’t like that logic when applied to a taboo issue they don’t like):
Deuteronomy 21: 10 When you go to war against your enemies and the Lord your God delivers them into your hands and you take captives, 11 if you notice among the captives a beautiful woman and are attracted to her, you may take her as your wife. 12 Bring her into your home and have her shave her head, trim her nails 13 and put aside the clothes she was wearing when captured. After she has lived in your house and mourned her father and mother for a full month, then you may go to her and be her husband and she shall be your wife. 14 If you are not pleased with her, let her go wherever she wishes. You must not sell her or treat her as a slave, since you have dishonored her.
So, basically, the Definition of Marriage from the Old Testament God included you (as specially Chosen) to be able to force a woman from a People you conquered and make her your sex slave, against her will. If you have sex with her and you don’t like her, the God of the Old Testament offers a money-back-guarantee trial period. If the sex isn’t to your liking or maybe she smells funny or whatever, you can give her back, but since you “dishonored” her you can’t sell her or keep her, you have to let her go. Lucky her!
Here’s another command from the Old Testament God that the Taliban loves and practices to this day (the Taliban are far better worshippers of the OT God than Christian* Fundamentalists, just sayin’):
Deuteronomy 21: 18 If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, 19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. 20 They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” 21 Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid.
Execute your unruly and rebellious children with stones. Make sure everyone hears of this and is very afraid. Hmmm, Taliban are still doing that today, yet they’re somehow “evil” and “unrighteous”…why? They’re just keepin’ it real…real Old Testament Fundamentalist God.
Again, most Christians* today will explain these uncomfortable facts away as “Well, that was then this is now! The Old Testament stuff doesn’t count!” and in the next breath claim that Truth never changes, God doesn’t change, he’s the same yesterday, today and forever. OK, well then he sure isn’t “good”…like you would assert the Taliban isn’t good…if that’s God.
The fact is, Christians* despise the Taliban, they call them evil and God-haters etc. for living in the same manner the God of the Old Testament commanded or “permitted” or endorsed etc. in the Old Testament. Ask yourself honestly, do you think it was EVER right or righteous to force women to be your sex slave or to execute children with stones?
If your answer is “no”…then your Absolute Truth opinion is that you don’t like the God of the Old Testament either.
If you answered “no”…you are a Selective Fundamentalist…and you have simply been ignoring the realities of the different versions of “God” presented in the many texts which make up the bible and you have allowed others to persuade you around very uncomfortable facts that have led to a huge amount of cognitive dissonance and denial in your world view and thought process.
Absolute Truth is something that is true for all ages, all peoples and in all contexts. As such, forcing women to be your sex slave and executing children with stones is either universally and Absolutely “right” or it is universally and Absolutely “wrong”. If you “like” the God of the Old Testament…truly….then you are endorsing the fact that at one time in human history God said those terrible things were “right” and “righteous” even if he “permitted” them through his prophets and leaders etc. If you then claim that it was “right” then, but “wrong” now….then you have presented an Argument that Truth changes…and is Relative and Subjective based on the particular time period, culture etc.
Think about that folks. Let it sink in. You are much more Liberal (in Theological terms) than you realize. The Taliban? Those are the real Absolutists and Fundamentalists.
I love the discussions and push-back, especially from my friend Michael Newnham at PhoenixPreacher.com. It helps me articulate the Position in a better way and brings more truth to the surface for all to consider:
Michael responded to my article here:
“Far more intellectual and still intellectually honest people than any of us have long discussed these things and still believe in the Word of God.
I am not an intellectual, but I try to be honest…and those passages don’t trouble me in the light of what God was doing in history though Israel.
If you reject the OT, you must reject the NT as well if you’re “intellectually honest”. The NT is honeycombed with OT references and Jesus affirmed it’s veracity over and over.
So…either Jesus and the writers of the NT were in error or we have to look for other explanations for difficult passages in the OT.”
My response is as follows:
“Michael, I don’t “reject” it at all, I acknowledge the ugliness of the OT, whereas some others try to apologize for it and claim the bible texts as “inerrant, infallible” etc and Absolute…when the text of the OT presents (self-evident) that Truth changes as you would not view the commands/permissions to execute with stones and to make women sex slaves as “righteous” in any context.
If the bible in the OT “permits” execution with stones and sex slaves, then why doesn’t it permit the offenses it is commanding to be punished? Clearly b/c the OT views the offense of “unruly” as punishable by death, while asserting that punishment by death with stones is right and righteous (or at least at one time in history).
This relegates the truth of the bible as Relative/Subjective and forces us to rely on something other than the literal text as an Absolute…which means we need to filter everything through our Conscience and Reason and what we believe to be “Good” and “Righteous” and what we believe is truly God.
Our Founding Fathers said, “We hold these TRUTHS to be self-evident, all men are created equal”….well women sex slaves were not equal in the Old Testament God construct…something “changed”…the text in the Old Testament is not an Absolute.
The Truth is self-evident as our Enlightened Founding Fathers asserted. There are some Universal Truths that contradict the command and practice of some of the texts of the bible.”