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The Goodness Of God


Castiel233
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When I was younger I couldn’t understand how anybody could fight against the Christian faith. Even if it wasn’t true, it was a given that Jesus was good and loving and peaceful, and just by being a nice person meant a sure and certain ticket into Heaven. God Himself was a being of pure love and kindness……..

 

And then I opened the Bible and met God (in print at least) for the very first time. Wow, the killings, the mayhem, the strange laws, and pointless insane regulations….the endless boring lists.

 

His love of endless praise, His love of animal sacrifices. How petty and vindictive He appeared to be. His admittance to being the creator of evil. His indifference to the suffering of the Humans He had created and His intention to suffer unto them a pain without end after they died.

 

Why do Christians insist that God is good, because He doesn’t seem to fit such a definition if we take His actions and words at face value?

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When I was younger I couldn’t understand how anybody could fight against the Christian faith. Even if it wasn’t true, it was a given that Jesus was good and loving and peaceful, and just by being a nice person meant a sure and certain ticket into Heaven. God Himself was a being of pure love and kindness……..

 

And then I opened the Bible and met God (in print at least) for the very first time. Wow, the killings, the mayhem, the strange laws, and pointless insane regulations….the endless boring lists.

 

His love of endless praise, His love of animal sacrifices. How petty and vindictive He appeared to be. His admittance to being the creator of evil. His indifference to the suffering of the Humans He had created and His intention to suffer unto them a pain without end after they died.

 

Why do Christians insist that God is good, because He doesn’t seem to fit such a definition if we take His actions and words at face value?

 

 

Yep, that was my experience too . . . only with this added bit.

 

Upon realizing that the Bible is unfounded I then realized that these good, wonderful Christians are trying to force unfit mothers to give birth and preventing gay people from marring the person they love.  Then I realized that Christians have been trying to make people feel very guilty for having sex or even wanting to have sex.  And then then I realized the wonderful Christians are putting guilt trips on almost everyone for almost everything outside of Christianity.

 

Doesn't look so good anymore.  Seems like Christianity is a source of misery and suffering.

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When I was younger I couldn’t understand how anybody could fight against the Christian faith. Even if it wasn’t true, it was a given that Jesus was good and loving and peaceful, and just by being a nice person meant a sure and certain ticket into Heaven. God Himself was a being of pure love and kindness……..

 

And then I opened the Bible and met God (in print at least) for the very first time. Wow, the killings, the mayhem, the strange laws, and pointless insane regulations….the endless boring lists.

 

His love of endless praise, His love of animal sacrifices. How petty and vindictive He appeared to be. His admittance to being the creator of evil. His indifference to the suffering of the Humans He had created and His intention to suffer unto them a pain without end after they died.

 

Why do Christians insist that God is good, because He doesn’t seem to fit such a definition if we take His actions and words at face value?

You were a Christian in the past.  Why did you "insist that God is good"?  I suspect other Christians do it for the same reason(s).

 

[  ]  They are merely repeating what they were indoctrinated with as children.

[  ]  They say it to obtain or maintain approval of their peers.

[  ]  Willful ignorance is their friend and ally.

[  ]  All of the above.

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I was never actually a Christian, I flirted with the idea of converting when younger, the general assumption was, I guess that Christianity was true and a wonderful, loving, kind and gentle religion.......

 

Even a cursory reading of the Bible soon changes your opinion on that.

 

I honestly never get how Believers  have the audacity to insist that God is love....don't they ever read their Bibles?

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I was never actually a Christian, I flirted with the idea of converting when younger, the general assumption was, I guess that Christianity was true and a wonderful, loving, kind and gentle religion.......

 

Even a cursory reading of the Bible soon changes your opinion on that.

 

I honestly never get how Believers  have the audacity to insist that God is love....don't they ever read their Bibles?

Lucky guy.

 

Many don't read it, at least not in full.  The indoctrinators of that religion (e.g., parents, pastors, elders, and other trusted adults) typically point folks to just a very small percentage of the text.  Rinse.  Repeat.  Next they "interpret it".  They avoid perhaps as much as 90% of the Biblical text.

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Christians call Yahweh good in the way the ancient Greeks called Smallpox the "Blessing" -- in order to exorcise it and charm it away.  For the same reason the Greeks called the Black Sea "the Hospitable Sea" -- although it is, in fact, a dreadful and treacherous sea.  Deep inside the Christian soul, Yahweh is felt to be a profoundly wicked being who lays evil on humans ("the wages of sin is death").  Christians have anxiety and dread that they must manage.  They call him "Good" in order to pacify him.  Consider also how often they repeat to themselves that "God cannot lie" (which has 60,000 results in a Google search).  Their "Yahweh" surely is not good and can certainly lie.

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Christians call Yahweh good in the way the ancient Greeks called Smallpox the "Blessing" -- in order to exorcise it and charm it away.  For the same reason the Greeks called the Black Sea "the Hospitable Sea" -- although it is, in fact, a dreadful and treacherous sea.  Deep inside the Christian soul, Yahweh is felt to be a profoundly evil being who lays curses on humans.  Calling him "Good" is a way of managing their anxiety and dread.

Christians call Yahweh good in the way the ancient Greeks called Smallpox the "Blessing" -- in order to exorcise it and charm it away.  For the same reason the Greeks called the Black Sea "the Hospitable Sea" -- although it is, in fact, a dreadful and treacherous sea.  Deep inside the Christian soul, Yahweh is felt to be a profoundly evil being who lays curses on humans.  Calling him "Good" is a way of managing their anxiety and dread.

Hi, did you study this view of the Christian god somewhere, or in like some kind of class setting? Could you point me in the direction where more speculations like this exist, please? I find this interesting. Thank you.

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Hi, did you study this view of the Christian god somewhere, or in like some kind of class setting? Could you point me in the direction where more speculations like this exist, please? I find this interesting. Thank you.

 

 

I would recommend the following three books which have shaped how I understand that Christians experience their god-belief:

 

God Virus, The: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture, December 5, 2009, by Darrel W. Ray
 
Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light, September 1, 2010, by Valerie Tarico
 
Leaving the Fold Paperback, January 15, 2006, by Marlene Winell
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When I was young and read bible passages. I would skip over the ones describing god's cruelty. I figured I was not old enough or educated enough to understand it.I didn't trust myself. It's obvious that

a lot of people simply never grow out of that dependent stage. bill

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That's an interesting question.

 

There was an early Christian heretic (I forgot his name but hopefully someone else will know who I am talking about). This heretic noted the character differences between the OT God and the Christian God and felt that Christianity should drop the OT and create a new set of scriptures. So he was the first person to push for a NT canon.

 

Also, I have heard that Eastern Orthodox traditionally discouraged Christians from reading the OT, because it required special training to understand properly (or more likely because it showed an OT God that didn't match the Christian God).

 

I think some of the Gnostic Christians believed that the OT God was not the Christian God but the Demiurge pretending to be God.

 

On the other hand, I know from personal experience that this issue never has bothered me. So not everybody is sharp enough to pay attention to these details.

 

Also less modern people might not have felt that a God who destroys the enemies of his chosen people is evil. The idea that the enemy deserves mercy for moral reasons is probably fairly modern.

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After thinking a bit more, here is how I reconciled this issue of character flaws in the OT portrayal of God:

 

So I noticed these things in the OT and I thought "gee whiz that doesn't sound like the God I believe in". Then I would decide: "Obviously God didn't do these things, because they don't match his character. Probably Israel's leaders did these things for selfish human reason and claimed that God told them to do these things. And probably some of these things didn't happen as they are portrayed due to ancient Israeli religious leaders making up things and putting them in the Bible to achieve their selfish objectives."

 

I applied the same thinking to things in the NT that I didn't like. I figured Jesus words had been distorted and editted by church leaders to get more money, power, loyalty, etc.

 

This is how I try to make it work even today when I attempt to fit the square peg in the round hole. I have always been suspicious of the Bible, so these weren't such big deals to me. The larger problem has been the way Christianity seems so similar to other religions but claims to be uniquely correct. And the stupidity of Christian theology has been a problem too.

 

I think this illustrates how people who grow up in denominations where the Bible is central to theology have a much stronger deconversion. The all-or-nothing attitudes pushes people to completely disbelieve in Christianity after they finally take off their blinders and admit these problems exist. Also I think some people are naturally more logical and deductive. (Unfortunately I'm not one of them. smile.png

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I'm afraid that even those who read the Bible cover to cover still believe in it. When I was a child in the Assemblies of God the little girls read the whole Bible (even the graphic parts). They got to be an "Honor Star" a beauty pageant thingy. Little boys only had to read small portions of the Bible to get badges of manliness. We were not withheld the moral horrors of the Old Testament. I know that my old church, with former honor stars and Royal Rangers, thought God's slaughter of children was fucking awesome. I think this proves that ignorance is not fully the explanation for it.  They know God allegedly sends the majority of people to hell and killed millions in the Old Testament, they just have their compassion removed by being told that "good is what God does. If God kills a little baby, that's fucking awesome". 

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well,,, the goodness of god,,,

 

while you are still a bloody shameless lustful sinners, god send his sinless son to suffer on the cross and die for you,,,,

 

and you still cannot see the goodness of god?

 

gosh,,,,

 

 

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I would actually make this more specific. Stonings and genocides are bad, but at least your immortal soul can recover from that. It's not the Old Testament God Yahweh that worries me. It's Jesus. Jesus invented the concept of eternal conscious torment in hell, and even observes that you should fear God because he can destroy your soul there. I'll take a God who orders ten thousand genocides over a false messiah who condemns even one soul to an eternity of torment.

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I totally agree with that. The NT is far, far worse than the OT, At least in the OT, when God was finished with you that was it, He killed and you stayed dead.

 

The NT of course teaches that death is no longer permanent , but merely a door way we walk through into a new life, a new life where human beings despite their age and goodness are to be tortured forever and forever in fire, because God, “loves us”. Note that it is forever, 100 billion years is not enough time to fry kids for Yahweh. It has to be forever, because God is “good” and “holy” and “just”.

 

Of course feeble minded Christians, unable to bear the thought for the Creator of the Universe burning children for ever, try to explain that God wants all to be saved and wants all of us to go to Heaven. Naturally they cannot really explain away the facts that God:

 

            Creates Hell

 

            Sends people a strong delusion so they will believe lies

 

            Jesus speaks in fucking riddles, and the express reason He gives for doing so,

is so that that people won’t understand His message and He won’t have to save them. WTF

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Why is death an instantaneous transition to one of two places? Surely a fair, loving God would allow a time of reflection and revelation of truth after death to choose our destiny with all the understanding required to make informed decisions. No person would choose hell but surely all would see the reality of consequence and choose Heaven. If Jesus WAS saviour then a fair opportunity to accept justification by atonement would be provided to all and equal opportunity to accept salvation. Without that it is a pretty fucked up system, resulting in never ending torture for most. God allows most to burn while a privileged few are pardoned by religious leanings? Not for me thanks

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This for me is the true horror of Christianity, its all mystery and smoke screens while you are alive and God is very hard to find....once you're dead (and its all too late) then you get to know the error of your ways and the everlasting contemplation of knowing the truth, when it is no longer capable of helping you. 

 

During life, God plays hide and seek, once you're dead and being prepared for kindling, then He reveals Himself.....how dodgy is that!!!!!

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Wow. these words from all of you have really spoken to me. This is how I have felt for a long while, maybe longer than I know. I was always afraid to admit it to myself.

 

Christianity is just the 'spiritual 1%'. Occupy god!

 

Sorry, needed a bit of humour. 

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In the end, Christianity does not teach that god is good because of what he does.

 

It teaches that what god does is good because he is god.

 

"God is good" is a doctrine.  Doctrines and reality don't mix.

 

Thus, a Christian must accept that god is good - regardless of any objections that may be raised when studying the events and ideas described in the bible.

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I always viewed the statement "God is good" as an subjective statement. The "goodness" of God is subject to their whims, wants and fancies of the person(s) making such a statement. For example, I can say "This tea is good." or "He did a good job on X." Are there objective standards by which we can all measure the quality of a cup of tea? How does one determine whether or not another person did a "good" job on a particular project?

 

In the case of the project, maybe there is a rubric or a grading scale or a timeframe or budget that was set and met. That measure of "goodness" is therefore objective, as in anyone who met said standards would have done a "good" job.

 

In the case of the tea, there really aren't any set objective standards. Some people like weak tea, others strong. Some like milk in their tea, others don't. Some like sweet tea and some prefer plain or even bitter tea. Some like green tea, bubble tea or expensive custom blends, while others are ok with the more mundane varieties of tea.

 

The supposed "goodness" of God  is like this, I think. Some people like the gay best friend version of Jesus, others prefer the fire and brimstone Gawd of the OT. Some people like the friendly and encouraging devotional-esque passages of the Bible, while others are into the harsher do's and don'ts found therein. Some like the prophecies and the obscure books of the Bible, while a good portion of the believers skip from Genesis to the Gospels, skimming the Wisdom books and maybe Isaiah along the way. There are believers who disregard Revelations and place far too much stock in the "million and one" arrows pointing to Yeshua in the OT (my former church). Other groups rely heavily on the threats of Revelation and make the end times a significant portion of their theology.

 

The truth is that God is only as good as a believer wants him to be. They need a perfect God, an awesome God, an eternal loving father and a best friend. If God isn't perfect and awesome and just a prayer away at all times, then their whole belief system is shattered. It is easy to skip the hard stuff, the horrific garbage, the semi-pornographic, the vile violence. It is easy to justify such actions by saying "His ways aren't our ways" or "He had his reasons". Most of the time, the church remains silent when confronted with the terrible truth about the supposed "goodness" of God. Christianity (particularly the virulent fundamentalist variety that has ruled US domestic and foreign policy for a large portion of the past 30-ish years) still hides under the cover of the "goodness of God" and uses it to justify wars on the "enemy" in distant lands. They use it to disguise hateful laws and small-minded policies domestically. They use it to strangle dissent and to defend their narrow-minded and childish attitudes towards a great many things.

 

If their God is so good, then why does he hate so many? If their God is good, then why has he sanctioned the killing and rape of so many? If God is so good, then why are all manners of sexual perversion so widespread amongst his holy elect (priests and pastors)?

 

The only answer acceptable answer from believers is silence, IMO.

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Oh boy, I know Christians have invented a lot of justifications for Old Testament killings. Killing children can easily be justified to a Christian with "they would have grown up to be evil."

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Oh boy, I know Christians have invented a lot of justifications for Old Testament killings. Killing children can easily be justified to a Christian with "they would have grown up to be evil."

 

Whenever Christians come up with that, "they would have grown up to be evil" crap, you can point out that the god of the Bible created those children, knowing that they would turn evil (as arbitrarily defined by him) if he did not have them eliminated, so he basically created them for the sole purpose of destroying them.

 

With that being the case, the OT killings are still unjustifiable because in the end, the Christians are left with a god that creates things for the purpose of destroying them, making him a blood-thirsty monster.

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Technically, children are created by sperm and eggs colliding and forming a fetus, but Christians see procreation as supernatural. Still, the justifications for Biblical violence are often baseless speculation. I guess (this is assuming God isn't made up) the "The 70,000 people God killed in a plague to punish David for a census were not really killed to punish David for taking the census, but to punish people who were going to do something so evil that something had to be done." has a TINY chance of being true. I find the idea of 70,000 people being this evil unlikely because the number is so high, and textual evidence heavily suggests that the author meant that God was scapegoating. I do admit there is a 1X10^-10000000% chance that this is right. Because I'm not omniscient and have a tiny sliver of doubt, I am not allowed to "judge" (read have a negative opinion of) God. Why would God send me to hell for hating him if the evidence looks bad for him? Why not tell the story of what really happen and say "I lied about killing for a despicable motivation. I had a good reason for lying about my motives, honest."

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