Monday, 25 June 2012

Was The Bible Really About An Evil God?

Readers of this blog will remember how I posed the question, How Do You Know Satan Didn't Write The Bible?, and how it's still giving Christians a seemingly impossible challenge, judging by their inability to answer it. In a couple more blogs, Why God's First Words to Adam Was A Lie and How God Learned About Justice I've shown how this early god in the creation and origin myths of the Hebrews was not presented as an omniscient, benevolent, or even moral god. In fact, these two tales suggest something rather intriguing:
  • The very curious tale of the lie to Adam about the consequences of acquiring knowledge and the irritation with the 'serpent' who tells Eve the truth, suggests a god who doesn't want mankind to have 'knowledge' and who will lie to prevent it.
  • The equally curious tale of the casual destruction of two cities with all their inhabitants by a god who doesn't seem to know what's going on, has no concept of justice and who is perfectly okay with virgin daughters being offered to a mob as a bargaining ploy, drunkenness and incest between father and daughters, suggests a malignant god indistinguishable from an evil one.
This is reinforced by the inescapable impression that it was an arbitrary and brutal god with the accounts of apparently random dress codes, food taboos, ritual slaughter of sacrificial animals, scapegoating, and genocides and where the consequences of transgressing its rules was usually a rather nasty death.

Of course, we are dealing with a developing mythology which was working for the rulers and priest class as well but the god they were using is clearly based on an amoral and far from omniscient one.

The reason this is so intriguing is because of the way Gnosticism presented this god. First a little about Gnosticism which was itself a major contributor to the medieval 'heresy', Catharism, also called Albigensianism, the persecution of which I described in Feel That Christian Love!
A common characteristic of some of these [Gnostic] groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis (esoteric or intuitive knowledge) is the way to salvation of the soul from the material world. They saw the material world as created through an intermediary being (demiurge) rather than directly by God. In most of the systems, this demiurge was seen as imperfect, in others even as evil [my emphasis]. Different gnostic schools sometimes identified the demiurge as Adam Kadmon, Ahriman, El, Saklas, Samael, Satan, Choronzon, Yaldabaoth, or Yahweh.

Jesus is identified by some Gnostics as an embodiment of the supreme being who became incarnate to bring gnōsis to the earth. Others adamantly deny that the supreme being came in the flesh, claiming Jesus to be merely a human who attained divinity through gnosis and taught his disciples to do the same. Among the Mandaeans, Jesus was considered a mšiha kdaba or "false messiah" who perverted the teachings entrusted to him by John the Baptist. Still other traditions identify Mani and Seth, third son of Adam and Eve, as salvific figures.

The Christian groups first called "gnostic" a branch of Christianity, however Joseph Jacobs and Ludwig Blau (Jewish Encyclopedia, 1911) note that much of the terminology employed is Jewish and note that this "proves at least that the principal elements of gnosticism were derived from Jewish speculation, while it does not preclude the possibility of new wine having been poured into old bottles."

The movement spread in areas controlled by the Roman Empire and Arian Goths, and the Persian Empire; it continued to develop in the Mediterranean and Middle East before and during the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Conversion to Islam and the Albigensian Crusade (1209–1229) greatly reduced the remaining number of Gnostics throughout the Middle Ages, though a few Mandaean communities still exist. Gnostic and pseudo-gnostic ideas became influential in some of the philosophies of various esoteric mystical movements of the late 19th and 20th centuries in Europe and North America, including some that explicitly identify themselves as revivals or even continuations of earlier gnostic groups.

So, the question is, were these stories originally written to show the 'creator' as an imperfect, malevolent lesser god whose motive is to prevent mankind acquiring knowledge?

In other words, were these stories derived from ones designed to show Yahweh as an evil god? Have they been changed and adapted to try to conceal that message? It certainly suggests a reason for the otherwise strange story of John the Baptist where, inexplicably, Jesus seems to have needed a human to 'prepare the way' and 'baptise' him. With John as a Gnostic teacher, 'baptism' could be merely a metaphor for teaching 'the knowledge'. If so, it's a shame that later writers changed Jesus into something else, especially since Jesus seems to have hinted that we should ignore Yahweh's laws when he talked about them only being administered by 'those without sin', which renders them all unenforceable, if you subscribe to the 'original sin' idea, that is (=created by Satan?).

So, Christians, three simple questions for you.
  1. How do you know Satan didn't create the world?
  2. How do you know Satan hasn't rewritten the Bible to fool you?
  3. How do you know the real god didn't give you science so you can discover Satan's lies?
Makes you think, eh?

I'm glad I'm not superstitious so I don't have these sorts of problems to keep me awake at night wondering if I've been deceived by the 'Great Deceiver'.

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  1. WLC and Paul Copan defend evil Jahweh!
    Haughty John Haught claims that the Bible's chief message is - hope in response to naturalists critique of the morality.
    Lord Griggs Carneades of Ga.

  2. On another site, I actually had a Catholic claim that until Moses was given the Ten Commandments, incest was not a sin, so Lot's daughters were blameless.

    1. In other words, no objective morality, just arbitrary rules.

    2. According to Answers in Genesis the only real problem with incest is that defective genes will be passed on without any good genes to counter them. Since there were no defective genes until the "fall" it would take time for this to become a problem. God stepped in to ban incest when it did. This also explains where Cain's wife came from (his sister not named in the story) and how the eight survivors of the flood restarted the human race.
      The notion of abuse of trust and masculine power were alien to the ancient Jews so of course didn't know about them either.
      So, quite right, no morality just rules.

    3. Penultimate sentence should read "The notion of abuse of trust and masculine power was alien to the ancient Jews so of course God didn't know about them either."


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