Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The God Delusion 7

'To be fair' says Richard Dawkins in chapter seven of his latest book, 'much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird.' Nice of him to be fair don't you think?

Dawkins hates that weirdness of the Old Testament world especially. He simply cannot get himself across culture. He hates the vindictiveness and vengeance of the Old Testament God, overlooking the evidence that this represented the best understanding of God by the people then. Things have moved on.

This failure to cross culture is typified by Dawkins' description of the murder of Israelite women for sacrificing to Baal as draconian. Draco devised his laws in 621BC give or take, some centuries after the event being described.

He uses this as an example of the disconnection between biblical and modern morals. Who's arguing? Biblical morality has also evolved.

He insists that religion is at the heart of many disputes and wars but that no-one has ever fought in the name of atheism. Nor will they ever?

3 comments:

Caroline said...

I found the old testament 'horror' stories pretty difficult til I read "The Chalice and the Blade" by Riane Eisler. She put that period into context for me. But still, shouldn't a loving God be different to the pilaging gods round about?

Then, a little while later I read Amos and heard a 'still small voice' speaking of another way. As if God was saying "you only seem to hear me when I speak your language of power but I long for you to find another way..." You can find the same theme in parts of Isaiah as well...

a still small voice saying peace... peace...

Of course today, as Dawkins would applaud we have much more rational and ecomonmic ways of abusing and controling others...


Caroline Too

Mike Peatman said...

Plenty of slaughter in the USSR and the cultural revolution in China in the name of an atheist ideology. The trouble with humans is that they find ways to organise and then fight each other.

I the Bible has a term for it...sin?

paleo said...

The claim that the authors of the Bible reflected the culture of the time is fine only if you believe the Bible is just a collection of human writings and musings. But according to millions of Christians and Jews, its the infallible word of an all loving God. So if the ethics are such that it has God repeatedly condoning and ordering genocide, infanticide, rape, slavery, and pilaging, and it does, then there's a major an inescapable inconsistency. Making matters worse, although Paul and many modern Christians want to claim that Jesus' life and death and resurrection superceded much of the OT, Jesus himself seemed to say otherwise, asserting that not one jot of the OT law shall pass away, and criticizing anyone who would teach people otherwise. It leaves Bible supporters in an intractable theological knot. If God had anything to do with the OT, even in an inspirational manner, there is simply no way to reconcile his supposedly all-loving nature with the hideous atrocities he reportedly ordered.