Gentle Jesus meek and mild
How come your old man's so wild?
Killing people left and right
Showing off his godly might
Destroying mankind in a flood
Cursing us with boils and blood
Froggies rain down from the sky
All of the firstborn must die
You're so nice and kind and good
Always doing what you should
You never even talk of hate
So why is daddy so irate?
With him it's threats and death and fear
He never even sheds a tear
One small misstep, one tiny sin
And then he doesn't let you in
He sends you down to meet his friend
And there you'll meet your fiery end
(It burns your flesh both night and day
Until the last stars fade away)
He loves us not, or so it seems
Unless he loves to hear our screams
He made us to be what we are
And punishes us when we get that far
You are his son, or so they say
And yet you're both like night and day
I wouldn't want to get you mad
But are you sure that he's your dad?
-St. Brian the Godless
We’ve all heard the phrase “God is Love” but what does that mean, really? If the God of the Christians is love, exemplifies love, then I think we have a problem. Because we will have to redefine “love” as something that in no way prevents God from punishing many of us eternally with searing agony for merely doubting His divine existence. We have to redefine love as something that allows for the loving Creator torturing His creations. How can torture ever be love? Especially when you consider that the torture will never end, so it’s not as if it’s to teach you a lesson. After you learn the lesson, you’re still stuck in hell forever.
Christians love to talk about how Jesus is God incarnate. By God we must assume that they mean Yaweh. (Or Jehova if you follow the error of early German translators) If that’s so, then why is Jesus nothing like His Father from the Old Testament? Compare Leviticus to any of the Gospels in content and tone. The latter sound loving, at least the parts with Christ’s message delineated in them. The former couldn’t be more evil if it were written by Old Scratch himself. Your son gets drunk and loud sometimes? Take him to the town and have the men of the town stone him to death. Problem solved. Your slave needed a beating? If he gets up in a day or two, no harm, no foul. If you kill him, then you’ve sinned. So don’t kill him, just beat the living crap out of him. Avoid vital organs as you pummel. There’s even a quote about throwing the babies of your enemies to the ground, onto rocks. Dashing babies to death is somehow love?
Nowadays, getting stoned doesn’t mean what it used to…
Modern Christians (of the hypochrist stripe) seem to have no problem reconciling the two extremes in one identity. God is love, but God is also torture. God made us all to love him, but if we don’t, or if we simply can’t find enough evidence for His existence in the creation that He made in order to believe in Him, then our Loving Father has no problem consigning us to the cosmic incinerator, for the rest of time. Sure. No problem with that. It all makes sense. Providing of course that your logical mind has been neutered.
Y’ever burn your fingers? It HURTS. Now imagine that all over your body, all the time, forever. Foever. Forever. Somehow, that is love. God loves us, except when he decides not to anymore. He made us to be what we all are, and then punishes us when we aren’t what he wants us to be? Can’t He get it right?
It’s all well and good to say that the ways of God are mysterious, but logic is like mathematics. It’s implacable, even in the case of the Deity. If the Deity behaves contrary to logic as regards to the question of love, then the Deity is proven not to love, at least as we understand the word “love” itself. There’s no mystery about it. Love never involves torture. The two concepts are incompatible with each other.
The words of Jesus Christ indicate to me a philosophy of loving all others unconditionally. As a skeptic I might try to make a case that even Jesus Himself never existed as an historical figure (we have virtually no hard evidence that he ever really walked the earth) but I cannot deny the beauty of the words attributed to Him. And as a logical person I also cannot deny the ugliness of rest of the Bible. So where’s the disconnect? Why does this disparity exist? And it’s not only between Yaweh and Jesus, it’s also between the words of Jesus and the rest of the New Testament.
The simple explanation is the one that Christians cannot allow themselves to hear. That the transcendental beauty of Jesus’ philosophy was recognized by the early church founders and was seen as the perfect bait for a trap set to ensnare the minds of the simple people. Starting with Constantine or even before, these people were the early precursors to Niccolo Macchaivelli. The Old Testament already existed of course, and by writing a new one with Jesus as the star but with plenty of control mechanisms implanted into the surrounding texts, and connecting it to the old, they gave it gravitas. They made it credible. They needed a carrot, and found Jesus. They needed a stick, and there it was in Leviticus and the rest of the Old Testament.
It’s brilliant, really. And it still works like a charm. No better control mechanism exists. Macchaivelli would be proud. Or come to think of it, perhaps old Niccolo learned his dirty tricks from the masters who practiced and perfected them centuries before. The founders of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.