Rather than simply reject beliefs or ideas that do not make sense, there are many people who will instead devote precious years of their lives trying desperately to make them make sense. This is actually one of the main differences in approach between religion and science. Science rejects claims that cannot be validated, whereas religion holds on to its claims for dear life, making excuses and justifications instead, where necessary, so that the claim will continue to hold.
It doesn’t matter how much scepticism some people have about religion or the bible, in the final analysis, to them, this world needs a God and it simply must have one. It doesn’t matter whether that God ends up having very similar characteristics with what we call nature, energy, or consciousness. As long as it is called “God” they can then sleep better at nights. One of the many contentious ideas of the Christian religion which I have often highlighted, and for which Christian apologists have failed to provide any satisfactory justification, is the evil and immoral God character of the Old Testament. In an attempt to reconcile the ubiquitous idea of a good God with the atrocities committed by the Old Testament God, someone recently offered a rather interesting, though unorthodox explanation on Facebook.
For the first few seconds when it hits your brain, it appears to put everything into perspective. It almost made me feel like picking up my bible once again and proceeding to the nearest church. But a man who lacks faith finds it hard to easily accept unsubstantiated claims and usually has many questions. Perhaps the following hypothesis will find more favour among you, the faithful. According to the “freethinker”, the explanation is rather simple. You see, God is both good and evil, except God’s goodness is “not in any way associated with the conventional standards of human moral expectations.” What we consider “evil” is really part of God’s dual nature. He went on to explain that “there is nothing in the bible which suggests a morally good God.”(Well that much I can readily concur with). “Righteousness and holiness have absolutely nothing to do with goodness,” he continued. “Righteousness is what God does – whether it is good or whether it is evil.”
The first question a concerned, devout Christian would ask, and rightly so, is whether those views are in harmony with God’s word in the bible. For me though, this is not as relevant, since the bible does not score very high on clarity and is opened to various interpretations. What was absent in the individuals explanation is his definition and description of God.
If “God” to him is a non-personal, creative, universal energy, as some people claim, which, like nature, is capable of both beauty and destruction, then why should anyone care? Why should such a God, which does not intentionally punish or reward, be worshiped? What is the connection between this God and the bible from which our freethinker quotes? If, on the other hand, this God is yet another version of the same omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, human-like Christian God, this claim would definitely make him a do-whatever-I-want-because-I’m-in-charge-but-don’t-you-dare-follow-my-example kind of entity.
If God is not morally good, what makes him any better than Satan or the average human being? We accept intentional cruelty and murder from animals without bothering to evaluate them with any moral yardstick because they do not possess the same level of intelligence as humans, or the ability to reason. They operate mainly on survival instincts. One would expect, however, that a God, who has the ultimate wisdom, intelligence, morality, and justice, would at least demonstrate it in a manner which far surpasses that of his creation.
The average, sensible mortal is capable of a lot more self-control, patience, and creativity in behaviour modification strategies than the Christian God, and would have done a much better job at minimizing all that collateral damage in Old Testament times. Meanwhile . . . man continues to create God in his image.