Posted by: mystic444 | April 7, 2017

The LORD (Yahweh) a Merciful God?

A few weeks ago my wife decided she wanted to go out to supper with a small group from her church. (They’ve been having these supper get-togethers for a number of years on Thursday nights.) She didn’t want to go by herself, though, so I went with her. She liked it so much that we’ve been going out each week since.


I’m usually uncomfortable with the conversation when it’s about the Bible and religious subjects, but I keep quiet; I’m a ‘guest’ and it would no doubt be rude if I expressed my feelings about the subjects being discussed.


Last night was no different, but I was so frustrated and disgusted by the ability of these people to completely overlook or ignore the horrible nature of the things being attributed to “God” that I decided to ‘vent’ today by means of a blog post.


Someone mentioned how ‘merciful’ God was to King David when he committed adultery with Bathsheba, and then had her husband Uriah murdered by sending him into the hottest part of battle and having his fellow soldiers abandon him in the thick of the fighting so he would almost certainly be killed. (This story can be found in 2 Samuel 11 and 12 in the ‘Old Testament’ of the Bible.) Someone else rather ‘snidely’ commented that David got away with murder. Nobody else seemed to notice that statement, but I thought: “precisely”. David got away completely without punishment for his adultery and murder (according to the Biblical myth/legend) – because “God” is so ‘merciful’ of course – but David’s newborn child (from the adultery with Bathsheba) had to pay the price by being murdered by “God”! (“God” caused the child to get sick and die). What kind of sick ‘mercy’ is that, I ask you? The criminal goes scot-free, while the innocent child is punished for the father’s crime.


Was this the same “God” who told Jeremiah and Ezekiel that the child will not die for the sins of the father, and the father will not die for the sins of the child – only the soul that sins will die?


No doubt some loyal Christian will defend the honor of “God” by claiming that murdering the child was actually being merciful to him: he got to go straight to heaven, rather than run the risk of sinning as he got older and perhaps ‘dying in his sins’! I’ll just have to assume that anyone making that ‘defense’ will certainly not join his fellow Christians in protesting against abortion; and surely he won’t consider that the parent who murders his/her young children has done anything wrong! He/she was just being ‘merciful’ to the child(ren)!


But that was really a minor thing compared with other instances of “God’s” “justice” (“mercy”?). As these good people at the supper pointed out, consider what happened when David angered the LORD by taking a census of his subjects (2 Samuel 24 and 1 Chronicles 21). The LORD is said to have given David 3 choices as to what God would do to him to punish him – except that none of the 3 choices involved anything being done to David himself. David couldn’t decide, so he left it up to the LORD to make the choice; and that choice turned out to be murdering (with a plague) tens of thousands of David’s subjects – who had done nothing –while again David went scot-free. Altogether, according to the Biblical story, 70,000 innocents died, while the ‘sinner’ went unpunished! How’s that for a ‘merciful’ “God”?


The thing is, that’s not an isolated incident in the “Old Testament”. There are multiple instances of “God” committing mass murder because “He” got angry at one person! Say some Israelite committed adultery with a woman from another ‘nation’; what do you suppose the ‘appropriate’ response from “God” would be? You got it: start indiscriminately killing Israelites by the tens of thousands until some ‘righteous’ Israelite murders the offending man and woman!


And what about the mass murder that God commanded the Israelites to commit – by killing those people (men, women, children) – as well as their sheep and cattle – who weren’t ‘fortunate’ enough to be born Jews and had the additional misfortune to be occupants of territory “God” had decided to give to the Israelites?


Is it really any wonder that some people might consider that the “adversary” of “God” – that is, “Satan” (which means “adversary”) – is in fact the ‘good guy’ in the Biblical narrative? One might even say that it is morally imperative to side with God’s adversary (“Satan”)! Could it be that “Satan” has been grossly misrepresented, and falsely charged with crimes actually committed by “the LORD”?? Well, you must judge for yourself, of course. 🙂


But if one wishes to stick with “God” and commit to a monotheistic religion, perhaps he/she should consider Islam. While Islam claims to worship the “God” of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Solomon (as well as Jesus and his disciples), its stories of this God do not contain those kinds of atrocities. Sure, the Qur’an depicts some pretty horrible punishments in the afterlife for unforgiven sinners, but at least it is the one who sinned who gets punished, not some relative or associate. And the only punishments prescribed for ‘sinners’ in this lifetime are to be inflicted only on the person who sinned. Those mass murders the Bible attributes to “God” form no part of Islam. I’m not Muslim myself, so I’m just saying if you feel you have to believe in and worship a “God” in the monotheistic tradition, perhaps Islam might be for you!


Of course, there are other choices that don’t portray a mass-murderer “God” also, such as Buddhism and Hinduism. Eastern religions, Islam, atheism, “Satanism” – pretty much anything is preferable to Judaism and any form of Christianity which traces its roots to Judaism and the “Old Testament”!



  1. mystic
    allah says he is the god who gave old testament and new testament. So you don’t make sense when you say become muslims.

    even worse, at least yahweh was confined to one tribe. but allah tells muslims all of humanity are game for muslim rule. Either they pay jizya if they are christian and jew and be low status to muslims, or if they atheist or like you who believe that satan is maybe a victim and the hero and old testament god (which allah says he is god of) the villain, people who think like you must become muslim or die.

    Quran (9:29) – “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”

    • Habeel – To begin with, “Allah” did not say that “He” gave the “Old Testament” and “New Testament”. “He” said that that “He” gave Jews and Christians a ‘law’ and a ‘book’ and a “gospel” to Christians; but “He” also said that both Christians and Jews had altered and distorted what was given to them, as well as having forgotten much of it. The “Old” and “New Testament” are the results of the Jewish and Christian alterations – not the ‘book’ given by “Allah”. The Jewish ‘Prophets’ said the same thing – Jeremiah 8:8 for instance: “How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the false pen of the scribes has made it into a lie.”

      I did not make an unqualified ‘invitation’ for people to become Muslims. What I said was this: “But if one wishes to stick with “God” and commit to a monotheistic religion, perhaps he/she should consider Islam.” In the next paragraph, I offered other alternatives such as ‘eastern’ religions, Satanism, and atheism – saying that pretty much anything is to be preferred to Judaism and the Christianity which is based on Judaism.

      I have no idea where you came up with the false idea that Yahweh is “confined to one tribe” (by which I assume you mean the Jews or “Israelites”). Both the “Old” and “New Testament” are filled with the idea that Yahweh is God of the whole world and will harshly judge anyone on earth who doesn’t bow to “His” authority! The Jewish Scriptures insist that this includes the idea that all nations will be servants of the Jews. For instance, consider Isaiah 60:10-12 – “(10) Foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you;…(11) Your gates shall be open continually; day and night they shall not be shut; that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, with their kings led in procession. (12) For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; those nations shall be utterly laid waste.

      As to the remainder of what you have said about jizya – convert, pay jizya, or die – that may indeed have been what later muslim authorities taught, but it was not the teaching of Muhammad in the Qur’an; not even in 9:29. Instead of going into great length in this comment to explain that text, though, let me just give you the links to a couple of my articles which deal with that verse and its context (textual and historical). Read them if you’re interested.

      Fight Christians and Jews Because of What They Believe and “The People of the Book” and “Shirk”.

  2. Hello again, I hope you won’t mind that I’ve resumed commenting on this thread. I was on vacation when I replied before, so I didn’t say all I wanted.

    I would like to add that nothing you said offended me at all. I like the fact we can have this kind of discussion, actually listen to one another’s points, agree on some things, and politely disagree on others. That is really refreshing.

    Sometimes it seems like people are too sensitive and others too harsh, whereas I think as is often the case, it’s best to fall somewhere in between. I’ve always liked your work and respected you, and appreciate your posts and comments.

    I just wanted to make that clear, since your comment seemed to indicate I might be offended. Nope. Not at all. Thanks for your replies. 🙂

    Take care.

  3. I’ve never understood the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. Christians have explained this relationship several times in various ways, but I still don’t really understand it.

    Sometimes it seems as if a Christian can just pick and choose, so that if you point out the Old Testament, then that is more or less abrogated by the New Testament, which makes me wonder why they didn’t just discard the Old Testament. But then other Christians will pick things out of the Old Testament to substantiate a point, while Jesus himself seems to have indicated he came to enforce the law, rather than replace it. Very confusing.

    That said, I do have a very different opinion of my own regarding the Bible and Christianity, which is more forgiving. But before I mention that, I want to say that I don’t have any problem with anyone looking at the Bible–or the Qur’an–from a critical “philosophy of religion” perspective. I think it’s fine.

    Ancient people didn’t convey messages through rationalist ideas like the philosophy of religion. They didn’t use graphs and charts and academic knowledge, but rather conveyed ideas through narrative. They wrote stories that were meant to convey some sort of truth, but that were not necessarily true.

    What are the stories trying to tell us? If for example we find a people behaving badly, collectively having sunk low in their moral state, then disaster befalls them. There is evidence in the real world that this is true. For that matter, it’s true that when out leaders do disgusting things, they are often not the ones who pay! We the people pay! What’s not true about that?

    Dick Cheney and George Bush didn’t pay for what they did. The Iraqis paid and the American people paid, but the leaders did not. If God is a substitute for reality–the nature of this world and the human condition–then those events are reflective! Whether is should be that way or not, that’s how it is–and we can see it’s been this way at least since biblical times.

    I believe that’s the point, and the objective is to convince people that they must behave, individually and as a society, within certain borders or they will suffer greatly.

    Now, I understand this just sounds like weak apologetics to a lot of people, and I get that. But what is the overarching idea of Christianity? The Big Picture? Christians themselves sometimes essentialize their religion and say it boils down to two things: Love your God with all of your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. Of course if it just means that and that’s all, we can go back to asking why we need the Old Testament at all, or for that matter, the New Testament.

    I would argue we need them because it’s more complex than that. Christianity, like other religions, attempts to tame certain aspects of human nature, such as greed. That’s important. It sets out requirements and boundaries for healthy relationships and ultimately provides the instructions for a sustainable society. I don’t think anything demonstrates the importance of this more than the present-day West. I have a hard time understanding how anyone looks around at how things are now and says, “Wow, it sure it a good thing we got rid of that pesky Christian religion!”

    I don’t think people are better. I don’t think families are healthier, and in fact I think a lot of young people now are simply a mess. I know because there are a lot of them around here who are abusing drugs, have mental illnesses, are confused, cutting themselves, winding up in jail, can’t form meaningful relationships, etc, and these were not features of our society to anywhere near this degree when we were still moored to Christian teachings.

    I have also noted that in our town, it isn’t atheists, agnostics or other “freethinkers” who are running social programs for the good of the community. It’s Christian churches. They are the ones caring for the homeless, serving free community meals, teaching immigrants English, helping former prison inmates rejoin society, visiting the sick and the poor, and doing all manner of good and generous things, all centered around their belief in Christian morals.

    Would my town be better if the Christians just got disgusted with some of the Old Testament stories and dumped their Bibles in the dustbin? I don’t think so. I see no evidence that’s the case. I see no evidence that secular morality is a replacement for what Christianity has to offer.

    Christians don’t mimic the Old Testament. However weird it may seem that they keep a book many of them seem not to read or understand, they do seem to get the more important, helpful messages. Most of them anyway.

    People conveyed ideas through stories in ancient times, and people accepted that even when they KNEW FOR SURE the story was factually untrue. Narrative is still, I would argue, a more compelling way to talk to people, though to be really effective, it has to fit the time and place. Those stories were told in a particular time and place, to convey a particular set of ideas, which evolved over time, and culminated in Christ’s love and sacrifice (from a Christian perspective). It’s a great unfolding, and the end result is love, charity, kindness, and morals that support strong families and strong societies.

    By the way, there was a stage of life where I would have seen things more or less the way you do. I don’t fault you for thinking this way at all. But unless and until I see some replacement that achieves better results, I’ll still believe the West made a mistake leaving Christianity behind, to the extent that it has. Despite the fact I’m not Christian, I think we should return to those morals, and to that overarching narrative. If we don’t, I fear we’re going to see those Old Testament lessons played out in the downfall of our own societies, simply because that is the nature of things. It just is, and always has been.

    • Lenna – The relationship between Judaism and Christianity is indeed both interesting and perplexing. Christianity as we know it today maintains that there is a direct link between the two: Christianity is said to be the “fulfillment” of the prophecies and of the symbolism of the rituals and sacrifices of the “Old Testament”. Jesus is said to be the prophesied “Messiah/Christ”, the “seed of David” and King of the Jews and of all mankind. We are given two genealogies of Jesus (in Matthew and Luke) tracing his supposed descent through David, Abraham, and back to Adam. The “Old Testament” is supposedly ‘inspired by God’ in the same way as the “New Testament”; and that which is “done away in Christ” is abrogated because it has been ‘fulfilled’. To use an illustration from the apostle Paul, “the Law” was like a ‘schoolmaster’ to instruct people in righteousness until Christ came. With the coming of Christ, it’s like we ‘graduated’ and are no longer subject to a ‘schoolmaster’. Still it’s to be hoped that we will have learned the ‘schoolmaster’s’ lessons and they will remain with us even though we’re no longer subject to the ‘schoolmaster’.

      Interestingly, though, in the early centuries of Christianity there was a rival viewpoint – known as “Marcionism” after its founder, Marcion of Sinope – which totally repudiated Judaism and Judaism’s “God”. Marcionism maintained that Christ repudiated – not fulfilled – Judaism, and his “God and Father” was quite different from Yahweh. Marcionism used only one “gospel”: Luke, minus the opening couple of chapters containing the birth and genealogy of Jesus, and with a few other differences deleting or changing passages which gave Jesus a relationship with Judaism. Marcion also used 10 of the letters of Paul (with some differences from the presently accepted versions of them) and none of the other letters (such as John and James). There was no book of Revelation in Marcion’s canon. People will argue, of course, over whether Marcion altered the ‘original’ gospel of Luke and Paul’s epistles, or whether his version was ‘original’ and ‘orthodoxy’ altered them. Naturally, ‘orthodoxy’ insists that what we have today are the ‘originals’, and Marcion drastically altered them.

      At one point in early ‘church history’, the Christian church was split almost 50/50 between the ‘orthodox’ and the Marcionites. Some of us today wish Marcionism had ‘won out’ over current ‘orthodoxy’ – although there are other aspects of Marcionism which we would not welcome.

      I think I’ll use a separate comment to respond to other sections of your comment.

      • Thank you for the explanation. One thing I prefer about Islam is its relative simplicity.

    • Lenna – I would like to now respond to your idea that the Old Testament stories were just stories – not necessarily ‘true’, but nevertheless containing and teaching a ‘truth’ of some kind. I want to ask: if the story itself – although not ‘true’ – is highly repugnant and immoral, how can any kind of moral ‘truth’ be derived from it?

      Let me take a ‘modern day’ situation and make an example out of it. Suppose someone today published a story about a supposed ‘moral hero’ (aka ‘religious nutcase’) who decided that Bill Clinton ought to be punished for his sexual ‘indiscretion’ with Monica Lewinsky – and this supposed punishment of President Clinton took the form of releasing a chemical or biological weapon in Washington D.C. which begins to wipe out citizens by the thousands. In order for the ‘hero’ to release the antidote to the chemical/biological agent, President Clinton must publicly ‘repent’ and pay the ‘hero’ a specified large sum of money. All told, 70,000 Washington citizens die.

      What kind of ‘moral truth’ could be derived from such a story? How would you react to the story, even though you knew full well that it wasn’t historically ‘true’? What kind of ‘truth’ would YOU derive from such a story? Would you think the person who released the murderous weapon was a ‘hero’, or a vile terrorist not deserving any respect – only derision and indignation? Would you want your children reading the story to learn valuable ‘moral truth’? I suspect not!

      The parallel to the “Old Testament” is, I hope, obvious. The (supposed) ‘religious hero’ is “God” (the LORD, Yahweh/Jehovah), the chemical/biological weapon corresponds to the plague(s) the LORD is said to have caused to occur, and the Washington citizens who died in the story correspond to the “Israeli” citizens supposed to have died by God’s plague(s). The story itself – although not historically ‘true’ – is horrendous and morally evil; the LORD is a “super-villain”, not a “super-hero”. What kind of mind can perceive any ‘moral truth’ in the despicable story?

      The stories don’t just ‘teach’ that unfortunately sometimes bad things happen to good people and we must just accept that “that’s life”. Nor are they teaching that bad behavior has bad consequences – because the people who have the ‘bad consequences’ are not (according to the story) guilty of bad behavior deserving such ‘consequences’. It was one or two people who acted badly, and they remained unharmed by the ‘consequences’. And even if the ‘moral’ is that the bad actions of a few can bring terrible results to the many innocent people, there is not ” moral justice” in such results. The true ‘moral justice’ would be to punish the ones who committed the bad actions which affected so many innocent people.

      If a major earthquake had occurred somewhere in the USA following the Clinton/Lewinsky affair, no doubt some religious fanatics would have proclaimed it to be “God’s just judgment”; but thinking people would realize that the earthquake was simply a natural disaster, completely unrelated to Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. Scientists could no doubt explain the cause of the earthquake, and might be seeking ways to prevent such disasters in the future, or at least minimize the death and destruction from such events. But scientists would most certainly not be telling us that the way to prevent earthquakes is to avoid sexual immorality!

      I am quite convinced that those “Old Testament” stories are complete fictions; but so many Christians (such as from my wife’s church) accept them as literally factual history – and say we ought to stand in awe of “the LORD” whose ‘just wrath’ leads “Him” to do such things. “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of an angry God!” I wholeheartedly repudiate such nonsense, and don’t at all mind standing with the “adversaries” of such a viciously depraved “God”. I find no redeeming value in such horrible stories, even though I’m sure they’re pure fiction.

      As to the rest – about who cares for the homeless,poor, and sick – I am quite sure that non-religious people are not necessarily uncaring and hardhearted. They might not be running independent social care organizations, but many or most wholeheartedly support (and perhaps work for) government run social programs: social security, medicare, medicaid, and such organizations as Planned Parenthood, the Peace Corps, UNICEF, etc. I don’t wish to see government suppression of the independent religious organizations – if for no other reason than that Christians themselves (or many of them) do NOT like government ‘socialism’ and would not do anything if they couldn’t have their Christian social welfare organizations. But don’t imagine that the non-religious are uncaring if they would rather support government social programs rather than religious ones. (And I suspect that government ‘socialism’ does far more for far more people than religious organizations do).

      I don’t find much to be proud of these days with regard to the USA; but I believe that its ‘socialism’ is part of the ‘good’ that still exists, and I’m quite happy to accept the social security (disability) and medicare offered by the government. I wouldn’t want to have to depend on religious organizations to survive.

      • It seems to me as if you are looking at the stories from only one perspective and don’t consider a different perspective valid, which is fair enough. You don’t have to find my argument compelling, obviously, but nevertheless I want to try one more time to frame it for you.

        What if the story isn’t meant to say, “here is how God demonstrates He is morality” but rather, “let me warn you about the nature of things.” It’s certainly true that collective guilt and punishment are not morally sound concepts, and I don’t believe we should follow them. I agree that people should only be punished for what they actually do, and not for the actions of others.

        But the reality is that people are punished collectively. They are by people, and also by the forces of nature. We must live with that and cope with that, whether we think it’s how it should be or not, because that’s the way it is. If you know that’s reality, how do you go about warning people so they won’t behave in ways that bring wrath upon their heads?

        In looking at the story of David and Bathsheba (and my memory is admittedly a bit fuzzy), I believe he was tempted when he saw her bathing in the nude or a state of near nudity. That to me is a warning about the sexual power of women and the importance of modesty.

        He then goes on to seduce her and get her pregnant, creating a conundrum, especially since the punishment for adultery at the time probably would have resulted in Bathsheba being stoned, and what of David? One shudders to think! So there is a cautionary tale about doing this sort of elicit thing and the chain of events such indiscretion and failure to tame one’s impulses initiates. It’s hardly a pattern I’d want to follow, after reading the story.

        David also didn’t really get off without a punishment. His child died and wasn’t his wife raped by his own brother? Something like that, and it sounds harshly punishing to me!

        I see many lessons in that story, and I didn’t even get to the whole strand about Bathsheba’s husband. In the end, innocent people were swept into the whole mess and harmed as well, which is simply another reason not to become embroiled in such intrigue in the first place.

        Ancient tales were supposed to be interesting and entertaining as well as instructive. Some of the stories in the Bible probably predate the Bible itself by thousands of years, and they were a way on conveying moral lessons as well as wisdom about the human condition and the creation, and its limits. Here is what Jordan Peterson said, which I think resonates and he once rejected Christianity in favor of atheism earlier in life:

        “Even the fundamentalists have the wrong idea about religious truth. Religious truth is not scientific truth. The stories in Genesis, which are very old stories, maybe tens of thousands of years old—they’re obviously not scientific theories, because the people who wrote them weren’t scientists…these stories, they come up everywhere, there’s no avoiding them, and it’s because they’re true, but they’re not true like scientific truths. They’re a behavioral truth, or a pragmatic truth, or a dramatic truth—and part of the reason why our society is so damn unstable now, and part of the reason why all of this weird chaos is emerging…this is a consequence of Nietzsche’s observation back in the late 1800’s about the death of God. We blew the metaphysical foundations out from underneath our culture, and the whole thing is shaking and twisting.” ~. Jordan Peterson

        The prevailing idea seems to be that religion was just a set of old myths and superstitions, and people are more capable of coming up with a moral code on their own, through reason and their own intuition. When I survey the evidence, I don’t agree that’s true. I think people tend to be shortsighted and to shape things according to their whims and wishes and not according to higher principles that will help them sustain a tranquil society in the long run.

        I guess you can take or leave the argument. I do see your point as well and only disagree in that I don’t think it’s the sole valid vantage point. I’m not very hard-edged about most things, and can believe that more than one view has validity, and that is where I stand on this.

        As for non-religious organizations doing what churches do, they simply aren’t. There is no equivalent. I never said non-religious people don’t care. They may or may not, but I’m addressing what people are actually doing, not what they’re thinking or feeling. We don’t have an atheist free clinic, an agnostic food pantry, or a satanic English as a second language course in town. We have all these things being run by churches and their volunteers. I think in this case, on-the-ground reality speaks for itself.

        • Lenna – It’s not that I only look at one perspective; but it’s true that I don’t consider certain other perspectives valid. That is, after giving consideration to perspectives such as you’re advocating, I reject them after finding them seriously flawed. (I hope that doesn’t sound insulting and offensive; it’s not intended that way.)

          First: I find it difficult to comprehend that a Muslim person would seek to delete the concept of God/Allah – the Creator, Sustainer, Sovereign, and Righteous Judge – from these Biblical stories, and instead seek to relegate everything to “nature”. The aim of the Bible, as well as the Qur’an, most certainly IS to get people to believe in, ‘fear’, and worship “the God of all the earth”. The aim of the stories most certainly IS to frighten people into compliance with religious authorities through those horror stories of GOD’S ‘just punishments’.

          But secondly, if you do want to delete “God” from the stories and just call it ‘natural order’, I deny that ‘nature’ acts in that way at all. “Nature” does not ‘reward’ good or ‘punish’ evil. When a plague or epidemic happens, it is most certainly not a result of moral judgment by ‘nature’; it is not ‘nature’s’ way of ‘punishing’ a king for adultery and or murder, or for taking a census of his subjects. If an epidemic occurred at the same time as a king takes a census, the two are completely unrelated; it is mere superstition – and attempted religious tyranny – to say either “God” or “nature” was punishing the king in this way (by actually punishing the people, not the king). Scientists will study the disease and seek to discover its cause and how it spreads; and they’ll always find a natural cause, not a religious or moral one. No scientist is going to tell you that if you want to avoid epidemics and plagues, you should avoid taking censuses – and don’t be sexually immoral! That’s religious superstition promulgated by religious tyrants.

          Third, the only way that such stories could serve as genuine teaching that “God” or “nature” acts in such a way is if those stories were true historical accounts. Otherwise, they are merely the (twisted and vile) viewpoints of the priests who invented and/or adapted the stories. They could only be ‘authoritative’ instruction if you are willing to accept the ‘authority’ of the priests who invented the stories. I reject religious authorities, and have only abhorrence and ridicule for such stories as the Jewish priests gave us in the “Old Testament”.

          Fourth, how can it be considered that the rape of someone’s wife constitutes punishment for the husband??? It is the woman who is harmed, not the man. The same with the death of a child: how is that punishment of the parent? It is the child who is harmed, not the parent. I don’t downplay for a moment the deep sorrow a parent experiences over the death or injury of a child; but it is an absurdity to call that punishment of the parent for some ‘sin’. I think it took a pretty twisted imagination on the part of religious authorities to come up with such an idea. The only reason we accept such absurdities from religion is that we’re brainwashed from childhood to not question ‘Scriptural truth’.

          The same is even more true for the deaths of tens of thousands of people: how is that a punishment (either ‘Divine’ or ‘natural’) of one man or one adulterous couple??? It simply is NOT, and no amount of assertion will make it so.

          Finally, I think you greatly underestimate what secular (governmental) social services do. I have personal experience with how government agencies are helping a friend who is homeless and unemployed, and I can tell you that church organizations do not and cannot come even close. I don’t denigrate what church organizations do – my friend does receive some important aid in free food and sometimes clothing from Catholic charities and a local Baptist church. But this is ‘small change’ compared to what government social services and clinics do for him.

          You probably don’t have specifically “atheist”, “agnostic”, and “satanist” organizations where you live; but you almost certainly have secular governmental agencies doing the things you list and many others. I don’t know about all the specific types of services (such as english-as-a-second-language classes); but several years ago I learned about government social services providing free translation services for Spanish speaking people (at hospitals, etc.). Perhaps 10 years ago, while I was still working as an over-the-road truck driver, I had occasion to look up some former friends I hadn’t seen in over 30 years. Wayne and Carol were friends from my Bible College days (1971-1973); they got married after graduation and moved to Washington (state) where Wayne grew up. Carol was the daughter of a missionary to Mexico and grew up speaking both English and Spanish as ‘native’ languages. When I looked them up after more than 30 years, I found that Carol had been working for many years as a translator with the Social Services Department and was pretty much always ‘on call’. It’s true that Wayne and Carol are Christians; but Social Services is not a Christian organization. There are no doubt Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, as well as atheists, agnostics, and ‘spiritual but not religious’ people working for Social Services in one capacity or another, providing all kinds of services to poor, sick, unemployed and disabled people. They’re just not doing it “in the name of” some religion or anti-religion. They’re people helping people, regardless of the religion – or lack thereof – of either the worker or the one being helped.

          Despite my disagreement with you on this subject, and perhaps harsh sounding way of expressing myself, I do enjoy and appreciate the conversations. Although this will probably be my last response to you about this particular subject, I hope it will not prevent you from commenting on any future post (or prior post you may read) – whether you’re agreeing or disagreeing with me. 🙂

          • I’m not taking God out at all. I’m talking about the nature of His creation. People absolutely are punished for things that aren’t their fault. That remains a reality. So if you’re describing reality, then there is no reason for things to be ideal and fair. You can set ideals and that’s great but it’s not the second as describing reality and the nature of reality. As a Muslim, I of course don’t accept the veracity of the Bible. I believe ancient stories written by humans are mixed in with revelation. I don’t think that means they’re of no value. I think secularism is calculated and cruel, and systems based on moral principles as revealed by God are and always will be superior. Maybe our primary difference is you believe in secular ethics, and I don’t.

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