Monday, August 30, 2010


(According to my human criteria)

"I form light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things." (ISAIAH 45:7)

"Thou Shalt Not Kill"......unless of course I (God) command you to do so.

"Go ye after him through the city, and smite; let not your eye spare, neither have ye pity. Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women." (EZEKIEL 9:5-6)

If the "goodness" of the god of the bible does not measure up to my human understanding of what I have come to know as good—assuming that the biblical representation of the character called "God" is literal and accurate—then this god is not goodAnd in our human criteria there is no controversial understanding of the term good. For it is by this criteria that we humans accept what is to us good and reject what is bad, accept what is right and reject what is wrong.  And it is also based on this same criteria that we have set up our democratic judicial system, where we punish the guilty and spare the innocent—in principle and practice (though not perfect).

 By the measure of our human ethical criteria, we do not accept the actions of men such as Attila The Hun, King Leopold II, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mobutu Sese Seko, Idi Amin Dada, Augusto Pinochet, Saddam Hussein—just to name a few—and the practice of slavery, as being "good" or "right" or "acceptable." No, we consider those men and their actions to be immoral and wicked; and we condemn them in the strongest terms. So whether the god of the bible is real or not, or whether his true character is accurately depicted or not, I see this god character in the same light as the wicked men mentioned above; and I cannot think of any [good] reason not to.

But religious apologists—those who very enthusiastically and presumptuously pretend to know this god and to be the interpreters of his inner nature and thoughts—assert that "goodness to God means something entirely different from human's idea and understanding of goodness; and because God transcends ("transcend"--the magic word of religious apologists) our human cognition, we can't possibly grasp what exactly it means to this God." The other appeal is to the "Divine Command" argument which goes something like this: "Whatever God says and/or does is necessarily good and morally right."

  This argument, besides being self-contradicting, is also a very sinister play of semantics and nonsensical dribbling. If "God"--a sentient non-material infinite being--transcends our finite cognition and intellect, then the premise proposed is false and so is the conclusion. How can anyone assert that this god is "good" if our intellectual circumscription does not allow us to fathom what exactly "goodness" means to this god? Moreover, how can anyone speculates about the nature of a presupposed celestial entity whose existence hasn't even been empirically established? Religion has never offered a coherent and consistent definition of this thing or entity it calls "God." Its explanation contains too many incompatible properties. If it is spirit then it remains elusive to a human coherent explanation. Thus when you say that "God is good," you know of no other criteria by which to judge this god's goodness other than our own human criteria. And if this god has his own criteria for "goodness" and we can't possibly know what the fuck it means, then every proponent of this argument is a pretentious babbling idiot that the best we can reward them with is utter mockery. The entire argument has neither feet nor ground to stand on.

At any rate, this argument claims that it does not matter what our human criteria says because this god is not bound by human criteria. For this reason--they tell us-- we are in no position to question or to judge God's action and thus we are unable to see into God's "Divine Plan" which is mysteriously and intrinsically "good." This is a hair-splitting riddle. If this god is not bound by our human criteria, why the fuck then they claim he is "good"? There is also, of course, a glaring inauspicious implication in this argument. For example, if "God" turns out not to exist, does that mean that slavery, rape, incest and torture are ok? Of course, this is more of a rhetorical question because we already know that the god of the bible sanctions slavery, rape, killing, pillaging, incest, etc. "Divine Command" argument, then, entails that anything can be good or bad, right or wrong. If "God" orders you to murder your own mother, as a good christian--following in the footsteps of old and dusty Abraham--you should neither question [His] reason nor you should have any qualms about carrying out [His] order. According to the "Divine Command" argument it would be intrinsically "morally right" and a "good thing" to do, and it does not matter if you cannot comprehend the reason as to why. You do not need to understand the conundrum. All you need to do is to have "faith," trust your god and murder your mother. Hopefully your god will intervene right before you're about butcher your mother.

The most interesting aspect of this argument is that it is concocted by people with the same cognitive limitation, just like the rest of us, to transcend what may lie beyond this mystery; but people who, nevertheless, presumptuously proceed anyway to assert that this argument is rational and thus valid. So in a pontificating manner, they pretend to answer a mystery by introducing what amounts to no more than  riddles and circular arguments. I do not think that it would be wrong to presuppose that these apologists feel and think the same way as the rest of us about those mad and despot men previously mentioned; and so the rational conclusion is that they also rely on the same human criterion as the rest of us to hold and share the same sentiment. So by what heuristic process then did they arrive at their conclusion and assertion that their argument is the right one? "Occam's razor" principle? I think not. If it is not morally right for mad men the like of Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and the others to do what they did, but it is morally right for the god of the Bible to do even worse, then such an idea suggests that we have two sets of morals, and inescapably, seems to support the assumption that "might makes it right." Parents, for example, may hold the idea of "I brought you into this world and I can take you out," but if they act upon such an idea our judicial system would throw them in jail for a very long time, because according to our criterion is morally wrong and unlawful to kill your children simply because you think that parenting warrants you that right.
In Deuteronomy 2:24 God tells His protégée Moses:
"Rise, take your journey, and cross over the River Arnon. Look, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amonite, king of Hershbon and his land. Begin to possess it, and engage him in battle…"

What could possibly have done this king and his people to provoke the wrath of a god who is supposed to be "peace loving," "just," "merciful," and "compassionate"? What could be the plausible reason for the ruthless slaughtering—including women and children—of this people commanded by this god—the same god who then instructed Moses "not to harass or meddle with the Moabites and the Ammonites" (Deuteronomy 2:19) who happen to be the bastard descendants of an abhorrent act of incest between Lot and his two daughters? Is this act an expression of this god's essential "goodness"?

"Blessed is the one who grabs your little children and smashes them against a rock." (Psalm 137:9)
"I will make the people eat the flesh of their own sons and daughters." (Jeremiah 19:9)

The moral of this deity seems to operate on whims. This incompetent, angry, bi-polar, bloodthirsty deity who always seems unsatisfied, can never bring himself to make up his mind. We can read in the bible of several instances where the god character has no qualms about changing his mind, and when he does, the structure of morality changes as well. According to my human criterion he is nothing short of a moral disaster! So the argument that this biblical god-character is, nonetheless, "good"—as according to our criterion we understand the goodness concept—is an argument from a pigheaded stance to defend a position rather than a rational one. "God can do whatever He wants because He is God." That is just a lame argument to justify the actions of a celestial tyrant who has no qualms about stoning to death a man for simply gathering sticks on the wrong day of the week, but it explains nothing other than tyrants have power and they can arbitrarily use it to coerce people into compliance. It is an argument that requires special pleadings, and the special pleadings are made up by the people who foster it because the Bible does not explain in any specific or otherwise details why this god told Moses to massacre those people, steal their land, and "save the young girls for themselves"; and more importantly, why it was morally right to do so. There's absolutely nothing good--by any standard of goodness--about this biblical monster.

In our society, and in fact, throughout the Bible, we are constantly asked to be "good." We are asked to behave in ways that is beneficial to oneself and society as a whole; and we are rewarded or punished accordingly. So "good" must be what our criterion says it is; and "good"—we are told—is the likeness of our Creator. So within our human capacity to conceive it is impossible to think of such a concept anything different than what we think this concept is. The Biblical fable where the main protagonist named "Moses" massacred all those people and steal their lands does not forthrightly states that the action taken by this god against those people, was a just retribution for perhaps some unpardonable wicked deeds of those people. In my opinion, this is a fundamentally important aspect missing in the narrative and should not be dismissed as non-consequential; for it cannot be overstated that this god's attributes of "good and beneficent" are in question. This is just one of the many glaring flaws in the argument. A flaw that, nevertheless, appears to be so only to the free-thinking individual; but to the staunch believer this significant missing piece of information seems to be either irrelevant or inconspicuous—not that it would matter in the lowest degree if the dogmatist were fully aware of it. He/she would never contemplate the idea of this god not being a "good and just god." So at this point, through a monumental amount of shoehorning, mental back-flips and special pleadings, the bible then begins to say whatever the dogmatist, at his/her own discretion, wishes the Bible to say. So yes, those people had it coming—including innocent toddlers and suckling babies. And this is the same people who most likely would readily agree that the actions of Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Duvalier deserve the strongest condemnation. But then in the same breath they tout the "Divine Command." argument.

 Again, this convoluted argument suggests that the "goodness" of this god extends beyond human ideology and human [earthly] understanding of the goodness concept; thus it transcends our human capacity to comprehend that all that carnage he himself commits and commands other to commit, it just might be another way of being "good." This by far has to be this celestial tyrant's best magic trick ever pulled off--being a complete ass-hole and convince many that he is "good, just and merciful." Here they are attempting to explain a mystery by introducing yet another mystery. Such a codswallop, even as a mere possibility, is appalling and repulsive!

The idea that there is a god who brooks, or even himself commands some people to perpetrate acts that are understood by our human criterion as barbaric and evil but he means well, does not harmoniously tally with our only judging criterion of what is "good." For it is very difficult—if not impossible—to reconcile all of the horror and suffering that afflict humanity with an argument which speculates that there may be inconceivable "goodness" deeply embedded in it for which this god might be justified to permit or even himself inflict.

When we consider the millions of people (roughly about one third of them children) infested with the AIDS virus, or others curable diseases—and likelier to die from them—or the millions of people all over the globe living in sheer poverty, and thousands dying from hunger and malnourishment, or thousands of indigenous people who have been disposed of their lands by corporate greed, or the thousands of people killed or affected by natural disasters, the argument for a "disguised divine blessing" not only serves of no consolation, but is also a mockery to those people and an insult to reason. That the god has something supremely better stored for us but he will let us suffer in some of the most painful ways first does not sink harmoniously with the lofty preconceived notion of a good moral celestial agent. Is it possible for the god of christendom, or any other god, to commit and/or brook all the evil and suffering that afflict us and still be thought of as a "good god"? Exactly on what grounds? By what criteria? Whose criteria?  The argument offered by the peddlers of this nonsense is utterly inconsistent with reasonableness; which makes it very difficult for the theist to defend, it provides for the skeptical ground for irreproachable disbelief and provides for the declared atheist as myself a foothold to present arguments opposing any fucking "goodness" emanating from a god who cracks deals with his foe (the devil). If our circumscribed human cognition does not enable us to fathom any purported goodness which may be, presumably, embedded in what we clearly recognize as abhorrent and evil then, by all accounts, all efforts to convey that message are futile; and, like manner, this god's attributes of "just" and "merciful" ascribed to him by mortals, seems to be more a self-imposed delusive idealism rather than any realistic fact. On the other hand, if because of a noble and helpless idealistic mindset, or simply because of irrational stubbornness, believers cling to the belief that this god is a good god, then, in my view, they position themselves within the dilemma of having to compromise the extent of their belief. For [if] they acknowledge the impossible reconciliation of contradictions between the character of the god depicted in all those loathing and appalling biblical tales, and the idealized representation of a perfectly good and loving god every believer thinks of, then, it seems to me that they are compelled to dismiss—as part of the compromise—all those biblical stories either as metaphors or groundless falsehood. And if they accede to such a compromise, and there does not seem to be any other alternative from a rational position, then this biblical hero named "Moses" would have to be demoted to a brute and wanton land-grabber, an unscrupulous murderer, a rapist, a pedophile, a lawless thief, a liar, a desert scumbag and a charlatan of the lowest order who in today's society he would have been hunted down, caught, trialed, convicted, and all likelihood put to death. They must do this or else they would have to concede that this god is not good, nor benevolent, no merciful, nor just, nor forgiven, nor compassionate, nor loving as such concepts in our plane of being are understood. When one describes something as being good, it is essentially saying that that something is a good example of a particular kind of thing—whatever that may be—because it does possess the appropriate characteristics which make that thing good. Therefore, the conditions for goodness, as we understand this concept, are relative to what kind of thing something is. Thus the conditions for being a "good god," when we read those revolting and disgusting biblical tales, could not possibly have anything to do with moral goodness because this biblical god is the wrong kind of thing to be considered as morally good; or at best, that whatever "goodness" he possess does not entail moral goodness. And the argument, which presupposes some kind of goodness that cannot be judged by our finite criterion because it transcends our finite cognition, blah, blah, blah, does not in any way changes my perception of the wicked effigy in the bible refer to as "God." It is a phantasm argument. If you talk to me about something my human intellect cannot fathom or relate to then you must be talking, as far as I am concerned, about some extraterrestrial stuff that is useless to my terrestrial life—the only life I have and I have ever known. And so I have to dismiss the argument for what it is— nothing but a feeble argument to fight the indictment of the cold, Machiavellian, tyrant, brute, and dreadful biblical effigy known as "God." The true and single greatest miracle ever to take place in religion is that millions upon millions of people wholeheartedly believe such a highly convoluted rubbish. It is beyond mesmerization!        

If any of us were to deliberately commit all or any of these acts, we would consider that individual to be a vile and evil person; and no apologetic arguments on his behalf and defense would be issued by anyone in his or her right mind. But an exception is made with the biblical god. If this god is not evil, what acts then would this god have to commit to be considered evil?

...And the god of "justice" who sees everything and presumably answers prayers, appears to be blind and deaf to this child's case and makes no rush to his rescue. A god who could eliminate hunger and suffering everywhere at the snap of a finger but, instead, chooses to watch me and count how often I jerk off, how often and for how long I stare at woman's ass, and then keeps record of it. Some fucking god!