Sunday, January 1, 2012

An atheist's despair

I took a long-term job subbing for a high school English teacher, and one of the topics we covered was the Bible as literature.  In spite of the teacher's warning (she came into the class to deliver this warning in person), the small class divided itself into believers and non-believers, and the believers were highly offended when one of the non-believers described the Old Testament God as an asshole.  Of course, the offended Christian was too passive to mention it that day--instead, she brought it up the next day, causing all discussion to end, and causing me to deliver a written lecture to them.  One of the examples I gave in support of God being an asshole was this verse, Deuteronomy 6:15:  "For the LORD your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land."  Sounds pretty obnoxious, doesn't it? Then I spoke for the Christians and said that they would like the non-Christians to know that their conception of God is that he is a loving God, and that the covenant changed with the New Testament.  At least after I read that, they started talking to each other again, but really, how could that girl get upset--God *is* an asshole in the Old Testament--in fact, that's the point.  An omniscient, all-powerful God is going to get grumpy.  He even becomes grumpy enough to flood the planet. This is one of the most annoying traits of Christians--their inability to hear a description that doesn't fit with what they're taught. In this case, it led to oppression of free speech, and to everyone feeling bad, or at least tense.

Notice on this list that the nature of God is described in many different terms, but they leave out grumpy asshole (hey, they even leave out angry, even though God describes himself that way):