plotting plotz on the bible

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Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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  1. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    I have a friend who is reading the Bible for the first time and is consistently amazed at the cruelty displayed by God. She points to God hardening the heart of Pharoah, for example. Pharoah says “fine, leave, fine”, then God says “wait, we’ve only done half the plagues!” and then Pharoah says “nope, you guys are staying”. Crops die, animals die, children die.

    “Why would you worship a God like that?” she asks.

    I tried to tell her that she probably shouldn’t read The Bible with the mindset of a 21st Century post-theistic, post-feminist, post-racial transnationalist. It’d be like reading Beowolf and thinking that it was awfully callous toward the welfare of animals.

    (Unnecessary disclosure: I am an atheist.)

    God is a reflection of life and the people who worship. When life was much, much closer to the Hobbesnian state of nature (Genesis), God was seen as capricious but mostly good. When governments got into the picture, God became a bit of a jerk. Once government bureaucracy the size of Rome entered the picture, not even God could handle the evil and they had to go dualist and invent a devil who could explain exactly the depth and breadth of wickedness that committees were capable of committing.

    God’s evolution in the Bible is half of the story of Western Civ.

    I still think that the parts of the Bible that blow me away are not the ones where God is partisan on behalf of the Israelites (or against them) but the parts in Genesis 1 where he looks upon Creation and calls it “Good”. Wow. What a wonderful building block upon which to found a civilization.Report

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