The Old Testament And The Idea Of A Hateful God–Henry Bassey

By Ikenga Chronicles November 13, 2016

The Old Testament And The Idea Of A Hateful God–Henry Bassey

Many readers of the Old Testament portion of the Bible have found most parts of that portion of the bible unacceptable, especially as they relate to God’s character. Take for instance, God’s dealings with the Israelites. The Bible clearly records that “God” hardened the heart of Pharaoh, making him refuse to let the Israelite slaves go. Meaning that Pharaoh’s refusal to let the Israelites go wasn’t his (Pharaoh) decision. Pharaoh was just a pawn in “God” plan, God’s toy, to be used as God wills (Exodus 10v1). How can a God who created man and gave him freewill–the ability to choose between right and wrong–now take away that freewill, and in turn, punish him for his actions? That’s simply absurd.

Let’s consider God’s instruction to the Israelites concerning warfare. Of particular note is his instruction on the complete annihilation of the Amalekites. The Israelites were commanded to “attack the Amalekites and completely destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys” (1samuel 15V3). It can be argued that this was payback for what the Amalekites had done to the Israelites shortly after they left Egypt. But this was generations ago, and most of the inhabitants weren’t even born then. And then the instruction to kill children and infants?

Or how about this statement regarding Israel’s destruction of Jericho at God’s prompting: “ They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it– men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys”(Joshua 6v21). What was Jericho’s crime? They refused the Israelites passage through their territory. If this wasn’t genocide, then tell me what it is!

The average Jew or Christian reading the Old Testament can be forgiven for thinking that the land of Canaan was a rightful gift of God to his chosen people, but the eventual taking of this Promised Land was nothing less than theft. If the story in the Old Testament were accepted as true, then the Jews and their God were nothing other than wicked. No supernatural justification can excuse the slaughter of so many original inhabitants, which the Old Testament claims happened.

Most Christians today have a vague impression of the history of their God, who they claim was first the God of the Hebrews. They imagine their all-powerful and eternal loving God promising his chosen people a beautiful land, flowing with milk and honey, a land called Canaan. But Canaan was no barren, uninhabited land where wanderers could just carve out a homeland, and the Hebrew God was no sweet benefactor. He was a storm god, a god of war. If the stories in the Old Testament are acceptable, then the original God of the Hebrews was in reality a wicked being who justified invasion, theft and slaughter, which is much in common with Genghis Khan. Which is why it amazes me that many Christians believe that the old testament is a real historical record of events, despite the fact that it portrays God as a vain, vengeful, unpleasant, jealous, unforgiving control freak, vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, pestilential maniac.

Besides ordering the killing of thousands of men, women and children, he is also known to attack his friends for no apparent reason.  In Exodus 4v24-26, we read that God decided to kill Moses. Sounds absurd? I mean, in terms of people God likes, you’d think Moses would be pretty high up on the list, right? God appointed him to lead the Jews out of Egypt, parted the Red Sea for him, and even picked him to receive the 10 Commandments. Yet this didn’t stop God from trying to kill Moses when he ran into him at “a lodging place.” There is literally no explanation given in the Bible for God’s decision to murder one of his chief supporters. The line is “At a lodging place on the way, the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him. But [Moses’ wife] Zipporah took a flint knife, cut off her son’s foreskin and touched Moses’ feet with it … So the Lord let him alone.” Either the sight of a much unexpected circumcision sobered God up quickly, or he didn’t want to touch a dude who just touched a severed foreskin!

The Old Testament is mostly a history of the Jews and history most times favors the narrative of the writers. That is why the Old Testament should not be taken as an actual representation of facts. It contains fictional tales transmitted from generation to generation. In fact, the first book of the book testament was written after the return from Babylonian captivity, thousands of years after the events it was written to describe.

The character of God portrayed in the Old Testament is not consistent with the character of God, the creator and first cause. To say that the Hebrew God is one and the same as the God that Jesus revealed to us is grossly inaccurate.

The Hebrew God instructed the Israelites to kill their neighbors; Jesus said “love your neighbor”. The Hebrew God said “an eye for an eye”, Jesus said “turn the other cheek”. The Hebrew God stipulated that adultery was a capital offence, punishable by death; Jesus said “go and sin no more”.

Examples of this character’s inconsistencies abound in the Bible, and I will urge everyone to read and find their own conclusion.

 

  • Mr. Bassey is on Twitter as @henrydennis25
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