Looking back, I am astounded at the degree to which I suppressed the questions, doubts, and observations about my faith that now seem so obvious to me. This god I worshiped is completely incompetent, inept and downright stupid! I know how offensive that statement is and there was a time when I would have boiled with anger had I read or heard something similar. But now that I have seen the truth, I can't unsee it. Even if someone could convince me that there was a divine creator, it could not erase from my mind the problems that exist in the bible. The conclusion is inescapable; if this god of the bible actually exists, he's a cruel and incompetent child, and no amount of appealing to "free will," can erase the evidence of his profound ineptness.
Here are a few examples. *warning - sarcasm ahead*
The garden of Eden. The supposedly omniscient god puts a tree with appetizing fruit in the middle of the garden, knowing full well in advance exactly what will happen. You don't even have to be omniscient to realize how dumb of an idea this is!. Then he tells the innocent and childlike Adam and Eve not to eat it, yet allows a talking snake to tempt them. Then he punishes them and all their progeny forever because they gave into temptation. This is the equivalent of leaving a dog alone in a room with a big steak just sitting there, and commanding him not to eat it. Then torturing him, and every puppy descended from him, for giving into his completely natural desire, and eating the steak. Not only is that incompetent in the extreme, is also cruel beyond measure.
Complex moral issues versus stupid rules: I think we can all agree that abortion is a controversial topic. Within Christianity itself, there are some denominations that consider it to be OK. And others, like the Catholic church, who consider it so evil that even helping someone get an abortion, or belonging to a pro-choice organization, results in automatic excommunication. An omniscient god should have foreseen how difficult and divisive this topic would be and instructed or inspired one or more of the biblical authors to say something clear about his instructions. Nope. Not a word. The only way to arrive at a biblical position on the matter is to cherry pick and interpret various passages. I have heard very sound biblical arguments both for and against abortion (I was quite surprised to find the argument FOR was more convincing!). But, despite his silence on such an important issue, this all powerful all-knowing god did make sure to inspire his bible authors to make long lists of geneologies, because it's important that we know who begat who back in bronze age Palestine. He also gave long lists of what we could and could not eat, wear or grow. He went to pains to provide detailed instructions for important everyday situations like how to punish a woman who accidentally grabs a man's nuts while trying to break up a fight (cut off her hand), and reminds us to bury our poop when we're camping so he doesn't step in it when he stalks the camp at night. These things were deemed important enough for god to include in his holy book, his revelation of eternal truth, along with various other long lists of rules, often repeated in more than one section of the bible just in case we forget what was said a few chapters earlier, on how to live properly in a bronze age desert tribe, and how to properly conduct rituals, most of which he then rendered obsolete just a few hundred years later, by sending his son and the apostle Paul to give us a new version of rules to live by. Seriously, how can anyone believe god intelligently designed the universe when he couldn't even intelligently design his own holy book?
Lies mixed with great truth?:
As an answer to critics it's often said that the bible is not a science manual or a history, it's a spiritual book. This is, of course, a modern idea. It wasn't until science proved that illness wasn't caused by evil spirits, and that the world wasn't created in 6 literal days and isn't only six thousand years old, that some started reducing the role of the bible from the be all and end all of human knowledge to a mere "spiritual book". Of course, some do still cling to literal interpretations. But regardless, why, if this book was inspired by god and meant to "reveal" to us things about god, does it contain inaccuracies and outright falsehoods about the natural world, which was supposedly created by god? Why would god tell us illness is caused by demons when he should have known damn well about viruses and bacteria. He went on and on about what was ritually clean and unclean, but didn't bother to tell us about washing your hands before performing surgery or assisting in childbirth. A couple of simple lines in scripture could have saved innumerable lives and prevented suffering on a massive scale. Why would he tell us crap about a firmament, and the world being supported by pillars, when he could have just said the world revolves around the sun and there are other planets, etc. Why does this book, inspired by an all-powerful god, contain not one bit of knowledge about the world that humans didn't already know? Why, when it does say something about the world, it just reflects the misunderstandings of the human writers? Because it a human book, written by humans. Since what it says about the natural world is demonstrably false, why on earth should we think it got it right on the spiritual stuff? Why would an all-knowing god reveal a great spiritual truth mixed in with lies about his creation?
How can any man who has ever been hit in the balls claim that we are intelligently designed by god? Take that logic a step further; god is male, and we are made in his image... Does he have a foreskin? Did he circumcise himself? Does he have a celestial scrotum? How can an all-powerful being have a weak spot like external testicles that are ultra-sensitive? Jokes aside, any god who would create our frail human bodies as the crowning achievement of his creation is a terrible designer. Other than thinking and making good use of our opposable thumbs, whatever we can do, there is another animal that can do it better. Our knees are prone to wearing out. Without glasses, nearly half the population would be nearly blind. All of our senses are dull. We see poorly and in a very narrow spectrum. We hear poorly and in a very narrow range. We smell poorly. Our immune systems are weak, and we are very prone to microbial diseases of all sorts. We are so weak and frail, the only reason any of us survive is because we live in groups, taking care of each other. A lone human in the wild is generally food for other animals.
If you were god walking around the earth as a man, in direct communication with your father, preaching a message that would need to be passed on through many generations and different cultures, wouldn't you or dad or the holy spirit - being omniscient and all - think it might be a good idea to either have the son of god maybe learn to write, or pair yourself up with someone who does? I mean seriously, how hard would that be? Instead we have to rely on four differing accounts of his life, written decades after the events they describe. The four gospels contradict each other on some very important things. And those are just the four versions that the church accepted. There were many others written that the church tossed out, not because they checked to see how historically accurate they were, but because they didn't suit the doctrines that the church wanted to keep. As if the gospels being accounts based on stories that had been told and re-told for decades wasn't bad enough, some portions such as the story of Jesus saying "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" (one of the best stories in there in my opinion), weren't added until centuries later. So, if the god of the bible exists, he is an extremely poor communicator and record keeper. A reporter for a junior high school newspaper could have done a better job!
No new info? None at all?
Bible believers will of course argue that the bible is full of useful knowledge and revelations. But is it really? Why then, is all the information that can be verified - i.e. history, science, understanding of the natural world, etc. never anything ahead of it's time? Never anything useful. Just imagine what the world would have been like if god had said to Moses, there are little animals that cause disease and so you need to wash your hands before helping a mother in child birth, performing surgeries, etc. Nope. We had to wait until about 19th century to figure out the concept of hygiene. Maybe god could have proved himself by revealing some amazing mathematical principle that wouldn't be fully understood until centuries later. Nope. Maybe tell us how to invent the printing press, so we could spread his word easier, you know. Nope. How about predicting something exactly - as in date, time, exact details, instead of obscure prophecy that can be easily interpreted to fit. No - can't do that either? Man, just how omniscient are you?
The old testament is full of stories of god helping his followers kill neighboring tribes, commit genocide, dash infants' skulls on rocks, take young virgins as spoils of war (gee, what for?), and other wonderfully all-loving and merciful stuff. But since this particular blog post is about god's incompetence, and not his vileness, I won't go into detail about that stuff. Everyone knows the story of David's near miraculous victory over Goliath. An almost as popular story is the supposed destruction of the walls of Jericho by blowing trumpets. But for some reason, they don't make any bible colouring books about Judges 1:19 "The LORD was with the men of Judah. They took possession of the hill country, but they were unable to drive the people from the plains, because they had chariots fitted with iron." So almighty god helped his army conquer weaker tribes, but he wasn't quite almighty enough to overcome those iron chariots. Isn't that interesting.
For god so loved the world that instead of just forgiving them for being stained by their first ancestors' having eaten a stupid piece of fruit that god tempted them with, he instead created a loophole. You see, despite being all powerful, god can't just forgive. He requires blood sacrifice. And since eating fruit is the worst possible thing one can do, you need the absolute best blood possible to satisfy his bloodthirsty craving. So, what better idea than to manifest himself as his son and sacrifice himself to himself? But even that wasn't good enough, he then decided it was a good idea to require belief in this oh so well documented sacrifice, and obviously not made up resurrection story, in order to obtain forgiveness. What better way to make sure everyone knew about it than to have it happen in a tiny illiterate corner of the world and have it take nearly two thousand years to spread to the point where it could actually be known about worldwide. Not to mention that had not Constantine's devout Christian mother Helena influenced him to make Christianity the official religion of the Roman empire, it's quite likely this odd little new religion might have died out or been reduced to a small community instead of coming to dominate the West.
I'm sure I could go on and provide more examples, but these few are more than enough to convince me that the god of Christianity is not worthy of my respect, much less my worship, devotion, or 10% of my income.