RE: What Do Non-Christians Really Think of Us?
The things raised in this article only scratch the surface because these objections apply to all groups, pretty much at equal rates, not just to Christians. I do not, cannot, and should not fault Christianity for the mere behavior of adherents. I'm only concerned when it is the religious institution acting as a body or when the actions are condoned or commanded by the religion.
For example, I don't blame Christianity for priests who sexually abused children, but I DO blame the institutions that knowingly protected them. That goes for secular institutions as well.
Rather, I look at Christianity itself - the commandments to genocide, the acts of infanticide, the explicit endorsement of slavery, the admonishment to give no thought to the morrow. And the astonishing level to which Christians will either ignore or lie about the BIble in order to protect their beliefs -- that raises the red flag for me.
One example of this is William Lane Craig's appeal that we think of the poor Israeli soldiers who are having to slaughter the women and children of the Canaanites.
When God supposedly commands Abraham to murder his son Isaac and he packs up the mule and heads to the mountain - this is seen as a wonderful and glorious display of Faith. And then Christians dare to condemn Andrea Yates when she says God told her to kill her children? How can they possibly claim to argue God didn't?
I understand that we all have ideals of behavior that we fall short of upholding ourselves, I cannot judge anyone as anything other than an individual for that, but this is the kind of institutional hypocrisy that is bothersome to me because they are ignoring their common-sense moral compass that murdering innocent children is wrong when it comes to Biblical passages, which they excuse.
After all, for Christians, this scapegoating human sacrifice of a Son was later carried out in the name of Jesus. I know it's difficult to hear but you worship a human sacrifice. And if you truly believe Jesus is God and didn't actually die and now sits at the Right Hand of God then what was the sacrifice exactly? Wouldn't Jesus, being God, already know of pain worse than any human scourge?
Of course, we all know that Andrea Yates was delusional. And those of us who are now outside the 'belief structure' it is easy to see that either this story is allegorical or perhaps the acts of a delusional person who nearly committed a great evil.
But whatever else they believe about it, Christians cannot escape that they believe in a 'God' who supposedly did command a man to murder his own son. It matters not that he stayed Abrahams hand in the end, a fundamental corruption of our inner moral compass is implanted.
How many infants did Joshua slaughter with a sword at Jericho? Joshua 6 [but of course "All the silver and gold and the articles of bronze and iron are sacred to the Lord and must go into his treasury"]
How many infants were murdered in revenge of Amalek? 1 Samuel 15:2-3
How many infants drowned in the Flood? Genesis 6:1-9:17
How many children has god had torn into by bears? 2 Kings 2:23-24
How many infants & children has god had slain? Jeremiah 50:21-22
How many first-born infants died in Egypt so god could show off? Exodus 12:29-30
How many women were murdered, accused of being a witch? Exodus 22:18
How many children were stoned to death for breaking OT rules? Leviticus 20:9
How many people have been murdered because the bible commands it? 2 Chronicles 15:12-13
Deuteronomy 7: When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou; And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them...nor shew mercy unto them
Or the Holiness Code, Leviticus 25:44-46 in which non-Israelite slaves shall serve FOREVER - they were inheritable property even upon the owners death and could be beaten (Exodus 21:20-21) within the limit that they don't die within a day. If they suffer a few days and then die, that's ok, because they are just property.
Manifest Destiny and the Requerimiento where God says we own this land and we will drive out, murder, or enslave any who stand in our way and don't convert to our religion are other faces of Christianity that Christians should reflect deeply upon.
These are the aspects of Christianity that I find especially troubling (and most of these are in some way shared in other religions and even some non-religious movements). All calls to an exceptional identity share most of these issues - "join US and you'll be exceptional and will deserve and enjoy more rights and authority than outsiders".
Prejudice, Ideology, Exceptionalism, Credulity, Superstitions - these are the root causes.
I wonder if any Bible-believing Christians would be willing to be held to same standard the Bible holds others to in passages such as 1 Kings 18. If you cannot set Bull meat on fire with prayer should you be slaughtered? I find the very thought abhorrent but there it is in the BIble, again being promulgated as Glorious goodness itself, the very hand of God at work.
By the time God is done, just by the explicit numbers in the Bible, God kills 2,821,364 people - and this number does NOT include the unnumbered cases such as the Flood or First Born.
This is why I could not continue as a Christian, simply reading the Bible and being honest about the contents.