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Who is your god?

The LDS church has an interesting caveat in its articles of faith.  It states "We believe the Bible to be the word of God, as far as it is translated correctly."  This was great reassurance to me while I was an active Mormon because I honestly had several issues with the Bible--particularly the Old Testament.  I'm actually quite glad to see so many Christians basically disavowing or dismissing the Old Testament altogether now.  However, it is still technically canon in every Christian religion I know of.  But, I would often tell people that I did not believe the Bible in its entirety, that I believed bits and pieces of it but couldn't accept it altogether.  I would usually think of an example like any passage from the Song of Solomon or some story about an assassin sticking a dagger in a king whose belly was so fat the hilt of the dagger got swallowed up in it.

Now that I am out of Mormonism, and Christianity altogether, I have thought about this concept much more thoroughly and through a quite different perspective.  So, I want to ask any people who read this blog who do claim to be Christian: "What kind of god do you believe in?"  Because when I talk to Christians individually about religion, the god that they describe to me seems to be quite different from the god that is described in their canon.  Let me give several examples to illustrate my meaning.  As far as I know, every Christian that I know personally will answer in the negative to nearly every one of these questions.

Do you believe in a god who

  1. kills all but just a few of his own children for misbehaving? (Story of Noah, Genesis 6, 7)
  2. endorses a man who offers his own daughters to appease a horny mob of rapists? (Genesis 19:8)
  3. commands genocide? "Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children." (Judges 21:10)
  4. gives all the men in an entire city hemorrhoids? (1 Samuel 5:9
  5. glorifies killing 200 men, cutting off their foreskins, and counting them as a demonstration of one's loyalty? (1 Samuel 18:27)  No, this isn't God doing this one, but in the very next verse, it states that God was with David for having done this horrible deed.
  6. delivers half a million people to be slaughtered at the hands of their enemies? (2 Chronicles 13:15-17)
  7. kills people because of something their parents did? (Isaiah 14:21)
There are countless more, and if you're interested you can just google "atrocities in the Bible" or "immorality in the Bible" or anything like that.  There are literally hundreds of such examples.  I merely listed a few here to illustrate the point.  

Now, I am aware of the common apologist response of "Well, it was a different time back then.  They were very civilized compared with the neighboring people who didn't believe in this god."  You know, that may be true.  (It might not be true, I haven't bothered to research that and I don't intend to.)  But if it's a thing of the past, then why not let go of it?  Why not simply say "You know what, it was good for them 3,000 years ago, but it won't fly now.  Let's remove it from our canon."?  Would that be so hard?  To simply say, yes, it really isn't eternal and absolute truth.  It's just a bunch of Bronze Age philosophies and morals and we can let go of them now?

Okay, so the next line of defense is "We don't live by the Old Testament anymore.  We only live by the New Testament now that Jesus fulfilled the Law."  Okay, well, again, to me that means that you should remove the Old Testament from your canon.  But, let's go with this idea of just using the New Testament.  I still think there are things that you would disagree with.  Do you believe in a god who
  1. "came not to send peace, but a sword"? (Matthew 10:34)  He goes on in the next verse to say "For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law."
  2. curses people for not accepting his miracles? (Matthew 11:21)
  3. kills a fig tree for not bearing fruit? (Matthew 21:19)
  4. needlessly kills 2,000 pigs by allowing evil spirits to inhabit them? (Mark 5:12)
  5. commands that every non-believer must be killed? (Acts 3:23)
  6. sends angels to destroy one third of the Earth? (Revelation 8:7-9)
I will grant that there are far fewer examples of immoral acts in the New Testament than in the Old Testament.  (After all, the New Testament is more recent and also much shorter.)  However, it is still full of things that by today's standards are absolutely unthinkable.  I mean, if I were to cause an entire herd of pigs to jump off a cliff, I would likely be imprisoned, and at the very least tried for animal cruelty.  If I said I came not to bring peace to the world but to set brother against brother, father against son, and mother against daughter, people would not set me up as a moral compass.  They would not worship me as a deity.

And I know that most of my Christian friends don't worship a god who does all of these horrific things which are found in the Bible.  So, why do you call the Bible the word of god?  Why do you call it scripture?  How is it any better than any other book on morality?  Why do you believe it without question?  Or even at all?

Now the Mormons have one more fallback, which is the Book of Mormon.  As I said before, Mormons believe the Bible "as far as it is translated correctly."  Well, they don't have that same apologist caveat when it comes to the Book of Mormon.  According to Mormon doctrine, the Book of Mormon was translated by the gift and power of God and it is a correct translation.  Thus it must be accepted in its entirety as canon.  But there are so many things in there that I know my Mormon friends don't believe are good things.  Certainly there are far fewer examples of immoral things in the Book of Mormon.  It was written 2,000 years after the Bible, with a much more modern sense of morality than that practiced by the Biblical authors.  

For example, do you really believe in a god who
  1. commands someone to kill someone else just for a copy of the Bible? (1 Nephi 4:10)  This is actually a huge issue for many investigators.  They're given a book that their missionaries tell them is a holy book which will bring them closer to god and one of the first stories they read is how god commands Nephi to kill Laban just so he can steal Laban's brass plates.  Nephi even indicated that he knew he wasn't supposed to do that, and the Spirit had to command him a second time.
  2. poured out his wrath upon the Native Americans? (1 Nephi 13:14)  What the European colonists did to peoples living in the Americas during the Colonial Age was anything but humane by today's standards.
  3. burns wicked people to death? (2 Nephi 30:10)
  4. asks his children to perform needless animal sacrifices, even though those people knew that the sacrifices were unnecessary? (2 Nephi 25:25)
  5. calls polygamy a "gross crime" (in fact, grosser than greed and neglecting the poor, see Jacob 2:27) but then turns around and sends an angel with a flaming sword threatening Joseph Smith with his life if he fails to take multiple wives?
  6. kills someone for seeking proof of god's existence? (Jacob 7:14-16)
  7. strikes someone dumb and leaves him to beg for his food and eventually be trampled to death simply for preaching false doctrine? (Alma 30:58-60)
  8. puts to death anyone who is not a proponent of the cause of freedom? (Alma 46:35)  When I was a believing Mormon, the letter from Moroni to Pahoran found in Alma 60 was actually quite stirring to me.  In fact, I admired his boldness.  I'll admit I exhibit many of the same personality features as those exhibited in that letter.  But, to go so far as to threaten to kill anyone who disagrees with you?  Seems a bit harsh to me.
  9. endorses sneaking into the enemy camp and throwing a javelin at the enemy king's heart? (Alma 62:36)
  10. exiles someone to hell simply for thinking that little children need to be baptized? (Moroni 8:14)  The language here is so amazingly harsh.  Just after Mormon had finished telling his son about the amazing qualities of faith, hope, and charity, he says that anyone who thinks children need to be baptized can't possibly have any one of these three attributes.  
And again, there are many many more examples in the Book of Mormon such as these that exhibit their morality is not superior to our own.  There are so many things that happened in that book which we would not condone by the yardstick of modern morality.  

Yes, I know, these people were imperfect, just as all people are imperfect.  That's great.  If you admit that, I'm glad.  But the logical corollary to that is that then this book is no longer canon, it is simply a guide just like any other book where some of the things should be taken as good and others must be dismissed as bad.

So, my question is, what kind of god do you really believe in?  Unless you believe that your god glories in all of the things which I have mentioned here, you cannot claim to believe in the Biblical god or the Book of Mormon's god.  

Usually when Christians talk about their god, they describe someone who is loving, who treats all of his children with love, kindness, and equality.  They speak of a god who is merciful and kind.  Where is this god in your scripture?  I submit that he is hard to find.  Why not, then, cast aside your scripture, and start from scratch, or simply leave the concept of dogma behind?  

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