I used to be a conservative Christian. Then I was a liberal Christian. For a brief time, I held on to a vague theism. Finally, a few years ago, I abandoned belief in any deities or supernatural entities altogether.
Yesterday, I read a post on my brother’s Facebook page. He leans toward the liberal end of Christianity and had shared an article about what things Jesus might have said if he gave a speech at Liberty University. The ideas presented tended to run 180 degrees from what Ted Cruz had offered during his time there this week.
One of my brother's fundamentalist friends commented that the article was naïve, and he went on to share his frustration with liberal Christians who choose to make the Bible politically correct. He does not want a “warm, fuzzy” God or Bible!
Inserting tongue into cheek, I replied:
You tell em' ****! Don't let these liberals water down God's word! When God told people to stone a bride at her father's door, he wasn't kiddin around! What happened to the good ol days when God would send his soldiers in and have them wipe out every man, woman, and child - cept the young girls... hell, no... God let them keep the young girls... God's a good ol' boy, and he knows his soldiers have needs! I'm tellin ya! You haven't seen nuttin til you see God get ticked and the only way to calm him down is to put some innocents up on a pike! Woo-Hoo doggie! Damn! There is NOTHING like divine blood-lust! You keep preachin the hard WORD ****! Don't let these liberal believers mess with your ass-kicking Yaweh!
Though I was being a bit sardonic, the actions I listed are accurate according to the Bible. God ordered massacres and executions, sanctioned rape, and required the blood of innocents to appease his anger.
Christians work around the violence of God in the Bible in any number of ways. Some ignore it, then fail to teach it to new converts, thus creating a myriad of believers who truly just don’t know. Some take a non-literal view of the bible – it was written by a tribal people who ascribed their violence to their God. Some, like my brother’s Facebook friend… seem a little too enthusiastic about all of that violence.
In my view, either the Bible is no more true than any other ancient myth, or the deity described there is a being worthy of nothing more than disdain, and only cultural inertia keeps people under his spell.
Yes, Jesus taught about love most of the time… but Thich Nhat Hanh talks about it all the time… and HIS book is so much better. It seems to me that those desiring personal betterment have much better text choices available.