November 9, 2008

Is the God of the Bible a Sadist?

Please don't tell me that something is true because it is in The Bible. I was appalled when first read the entire King James Version of the Bible for a class at UCLA when I was 20 years old.

If you don't know what it says, I suggest that you actually read the Bible. Yes, that is what I said. Go read it. Start with Genesis. Read what God told His people to do.

Most of it is pretty creepy. Very little loving kindness stuff, very big on rules, killing and and judging stuff. If you don't wonder if the God of the Bible as a sadist, then I question your judgment.

I once learned that the most important religious holiday of observant Jews was Yom Kippur, the day of atonement. The holiest day of the year. That makes sense to me. A day of fasting, reflection and atonement for one's sins.... It is good to look back, and reflect, and resolve to do better in the future. Our family always held a large dinner to break the fast after sundown on the evening of Yom Kippur.

Our family also always celebrated The Passover, and though we were a generally secular family, we repeated the traditional prayers at the Passover Seder as Jewish families have done over the centuries. But lately I have been considering some of the awful stuff related in the Bible, the whole thing seems pretty gruesome.

The story of The Passover goes somewhat like this. The Jews had been held in bondage in Egypt. The Pharaoh would not let them go even after Moses told him that Egypt would be visited by plague after plague if he did not. The Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart and he would not let Moses' people go.

After the Lord cause Egypt to be visited by the first several plagues, water turning into blood, frogs, gnats, flies, beasts, pestilence, incurable boils, hail, locusts, and darkness, the Pharaoh of Egypt remained unbowed.

Only the Egyptians were affected by these plagues and the Israelites remained protected by the Lord. These terrible plagues did not come to the land of the Goshen where the the Israelites lived.

Then Moses came to Pharaoh and told him that if he did not let the people go, all the first born males of the Egyptians would die. The Lord caused the Pharaoh's heart to remain hard and he would not let them go. To prepare for the coming plague of the death of the first born, the Israelites were told to mark their doors with the blood of a sacrificed lamb so that the Lord would pass over their homes. They did.

When the night came, the Lord took the life of all of the firstborn sons of Egypt, but he passed over the homes of the Israelites and their firstborn sons remained safe and were spared.

The Pharaoh, in his grief over the death of his son, finally let the Israelites go. With all of their belongings the former slaves began their long trek to find the Land of Milk and Honey.

Soon after they left, the Lord hardened Pharaoh's heart once again, and in his fury over the death of his son, he and his army began to chase the former slave to the Red Sea. The Lord cause the sea to open up to let the Israelites pass though, but when the Egyptian Army began to follow them into the sea, the Lord closed the sea over the Egyptians and it goes on from there.

The moral of most of these stories, I guess, is Don't Mess With God!

Posted by Judi at November 9, 2008 12:48 AM | TrackBack
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