Atheistic Challenges and Actual Human Beings
by Tom Gilson
My friend Eric Chabot speaks of “dealing with the little ‘Richards’” (Dawkins-like atheists) on his Ohio State Ratio Christi blog. It’s good stuff, and his blog is a great one to follow.
I have a different answer than his for this, though:
#1: “The God of the Old Testament is an egostatistical, monstrous, genocidal god that should never be worshiped! He kills people and approves of rape and slavery. How in God’s name could anyone serve a god like this?”
A statement like that reveals more about the speaker than it does about Christians or our beliefs. Look at what it assumes:
1. The speaker really understands who God is according to the Old Testament, and either…
2a: He or she understands this much better than Christians, who don’t realize how evil God is portrayed to be there, or
2b. Christians actually do understand how evil God is in the Old Testament, and we worship him anyway, or
2c. Christians are so psychologically twisted, we can study and study and study and still never see the reality of how bad God is in the OT.
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Option 2a is really quite unlikely, isn’t it? We study the Old Testament. We ransack it. We have entire departments of colleges and seminaries devoted to understanding it. I’ve read through the entire Old Testament (OT) many times. I know what’s in there. I really don’t think most atheists have a better understanding of the OT God than I have. The same would be true for a large proportion of believers: we know what it says there. It’s just unlikely on the face of it that we’re worshiping God as ignorantly as 2a would demand.
So that brings us to 2b: we’ve understood the Old Testament, we see who its god is, and as this atheist says, this god is really quite evil. And we just love worshiping that kind of god. We’re absolute moral idiots…
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