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Responses To Kuroikaze's Story


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Here is the link, if you're interested.

 

http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?showtopic=9539

 

This was a great story posted in the Lion's Den by Kuroikaze. I liked it and so I decided to post it on my personal blog. My blog is read by many of my friends from when I was a Christian, and I knew I would receive several comments about it. I just wanted to post those comments here for discussion.

 

Response #1 (with all personal references taken out).

 

Often times the people that God asked the Israelites to pillage and destroy was not of innocent blood. Many of the nations God asked the Israelites to destroy were evil in every sense of the word. Archeologists have been able to dig up ruins of these past civilizations. The debauchery, enslavement, murder, etc. among some of these societies... is unfathomable.

 

I have struggled with this aspect of God- I cannot understand nor fathom why God would ever ask a nation to destroy another that he had "created". But, just because we cannot understand it, doesn't mean we have to form an opinon about it. There are many things that you and I both will never understand- all religious and spirtual things aside- but it doesn't mean we have to disagree with it or ignore it's existence.

 

We're all different people. God has many aspects and facets that speak more to one person than it would ever to me. Some people- like cops or people in the military would respect God more after reading a passage like this, whereas for others (like you and I), the "injustice" would plague us to our death. But, we cannot get caught up in that. What does it matter? What does this passage prove? I think it proves that the cultures back then didn't value the same things that our American and westernized cultures do. And if you really want to make this "hit home" more, think of the injustices America and President Bush has wrought against "innocent" Iraqis, Afganis, Palestinians, Bosnians, etc.... If anything, this passage should teach us how far humanity has come and how far we still have left to go; or even, it will help us love and appreciate the Kingdom of God- a kingdom of pure peace and holiness (that will one day be set up here on earth) so much more.

 

We only see (on average ~70 years) a short glimpse of what it is to be a human and what it is to live on earth. 2000 years from now, new civilizations will talk about how "uncivilized" and "archaic" our lives were here in the United States. But what does this prove? It proves hindsight is 20/20. It's easy for us to see what is wrong with this passage, but at the time, it was a good idea. They didn't have the UN or diplomats. It was a free-for-all, get as much land as you can get, type of lifestyle. You must view God outside of the relam of culture, media, and society. You have to see Him on His own.

 

And my rebuttal:

 

First of all, thanks for your comment. I enjoy dialogue like this, as it is helping me in my search. I also hope it is helping you in your search for the truth.

 

I love how the Christian response when people bring up the mass killings by God in the OT is always, "We don't understand God's purposes." It's a simple sidestep to avoid rebutting the argument. Perhaps those people were evil, but I still don't understand why that is an excuse for genocide. When Hitler saw impurities or imperfections in the nations he conquered, he destroyed them all in gas chambers and incinerators. We do not look on Hitler as a good and loving man; we look upon him as cruel and evil. Yes, I did just compare God to Hitler.

 

If the killing was the responsibility of the Israelites themselves, then it shows that the people God chose were just as evil as their neighbors, even after he chose them. If this is the case, then how were the Israelites any better than the Assyrians or the Egyptians, and therefore how was their god any better? If it was the responsibility of God, then how does that fit into the loving God that we know so well? Maybe he is the Creator of the universe, but I don't see how killing off an entire race of people just because you don't like what they're doing is EVER justified. Besides, how can humanity ever have free will if we are killed for doing the wrong thing? We may not know his purposes, but if his purposes involve killing off millions of people (no matter WHAT the reasons), I don't want any part of it, thanks. What's to say that he won't just up and decide that what I am doing is evil and kill me? If he has a history of just killing people on a whim, then why should I voluntarily trust him with my life? Even spending eternity in Hell would be better than being under God's thumb forever, just because I would have my short lifetime in which I would be free. If he wants to speed up the process and just squelch me out of existence and send me to Hell right now, then be my guest; he would only be proving my point.

 

When you talk about the different aspects of God that appeal to different people, all I can see is a religion that knows how to manipulate people. If you know that everyone will be able to find something in your religion, then you will be able to gain many converts. Maybe this was intentional or maybe it wasn't, but it makes no difference because the result was the same. These different aspects that are presented in the Bible are the primary reason Christianity did not suffer an early death. My major bone of contention is that people contradict each other all the time, and therefore the different aspects of God that would reach all of these people would also contradict. As a result, God would contradict himself. If he contradicts himself, then he can't always be right, and therefore is imperfect. If God is imperfect, then how does he have the audacity to even think of judging me, and how does Jesus's death mean anything? Most importantly, how can I believe in a god that has certain aspects of him contradictory to what I believe is right? In other words, if God does things that are wrong, why should I pay any attention to his commands, and why should I put my life in his hands?

 

And yes, you have to believe what your own personal experiences have led you to believe. I could never understand your personal experiences, so my arguments are limited, but not ineffectual. The only argument I have is that you are misinterpreting those experiences, automatically attributing them to God when there could be a perfectly rational explanation other than God. Isaac Newton could have responded to the apple falling on his head by saying God made it happen, but any schoolchild can tell you that it was gravity that made the apple fall. Therefore, even experience must cave to rationality. If there is a rational explanation other than God, then why must we continue to insist upon God? If there is no apparent rational explanation other than God, that still doesn't necessarily point to God.

 

However, that argument is not going to sway me anyway, because my personal experiences have led me away from God. I cannot believe in God after what I have seen done in his name, especially the things that are written in the book dubbed as his "Word." And if personal experience is what leads every person to believe what they believe, then why do Christians spend so much time in witnessing and missions? All you are doing is forcing your experiences upon someone else, and that is wrong. Sure, everyone has a right to believe what they want, and I think open, honest dialogue is very appropriate for an intellectual society. However, people need to find out what they believe on their own without people from halfway across the world coming to them and telling them what to believe. Should every person who has a differing belief from that person (everybody) come across the world and force their ideas upon that person? Of course not. Why then do Christians insist on doing so? Because they are right? Ask any Muslim and they will tell you that they are also right (and have also done their fair share of forcing ideas upon people).

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