Killing in the name of God – part 2

With the Jewish Passover and the Christian Passion Week now behind us, I think it is only fitting to address both of them through the eye of Reason.  It puzzles me that these events are so hallowed and revered because when considers their origins, they are both atrocities of the worst kind.  The Passover and the Crucifixion of Jesus, if they occurred as portrayed in the Bible, are brutal murders of innocent people.

The Passover – Divine Genocide

After the Plague of Darkness that occurs in Exodus 10, Pharoah still refused to let the people of Israel go out and worship their God.  Then Exodus 11:4-10 states “So Moses said, “This is what the LORD says: ‘About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the female slave, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well.  There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again. But among the Israelites not a dog will bark at any person or animal.’ Then you will know that the LORD makes a distinction between Egypt and Israel. All these officials of yours will come to me, bowing down before me and saying, ‘Go, you and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will leave.” Then Moses, hot with anger, left Pharaoh. The LORD had said to Moses, “Pharaoh will refuse to listen to you—so that my wonders may be multiplied in Egypt.”  Moses and Aaron performed all these wonders before Pharaoh, but the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let the Israelites go out of his country.” 

Now before I go any further does this sound like an all-loving God?

Then it happens, according to Exodus 12:29 -30 “At midnight the LORD struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh, who sat on the throne, to the firstborn of the prisoner, who was in the dungeon, and the firstborn of all the livestock as well. Pharaoh and all his officials and all the Egyptians got up during the night, and there was loud wailing in Egypt, for there was not a house without someone dead. “

So God slaughtered the firstborn of every living thing in Egypt except the Israelites.

Why? 

Was it because the people of Egypt were evil? 

Was it because Pharoah was oppressing the Jews?

All one has to do is read the Bible itself and it is crystal clear why Pharoah wouldn’t let the Israelites go after the ten horrible plagues –  God hardened his heart.  Now think about this for just a minute.  God hardens Pharoah’s heart so that he enslaves and forbids God’s chosen people from leaving and God then punishes Pharoah for having the hard heart that God gave him by killing every firstborn living creature that was not protected by the lamb’s blood in the doorway.

Crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth – A Human Sacrifice

Christianity holds the belief that Jesus was sent to earth to be crucified for everyone’s sins. According to John 3:16-18 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.”   Eventually the church then traced this whole need for a sacrifice back to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and the doctrine of Original Sin appeared.  Ask any Jew you know if they believe in Original Sin or that the messiah is supposed to come down to earth and be slaughtered like a lamb and you will be surprised at what you hear.  To most Jews the Adam and Eve story is completely an allegorical story and it only takes an ounce of common sense to know that snakes don’t talk to people (unless of course you are a Harry Potter character).  OK, circling back now.  Jesus was crucified so that God would forgive our sins because without this sacrifice God will not forgive our sins and condemn us to eternal suffering.

So with the Passover we see God slaughter every firstborn child and animal because Pharoah with the hardened heart God gave him would not let the Israelites go.  With the crucifixion of Jesus we see God not giving us forgiveness without the torture and sacrifice of his “one an only son.”

With all this brutality on the part of God is there any wonder what drove the Holy Wars, Inquisitions, and witch hunts? 

Is there any credibility when the Jews and Christians claim their beliefs are on a higher moral ground then that of the Muslims or any other religion of the world and that they have the True Word of God and all other holy books are imposters?

The true infallible word of our Creator is not a book written by men.  For anything to be infallible it must have an origin that is infallible and man is just a part of the creation and not the origin of it.  The true revelation of our Creator was not handed to a prophet in the desert by  an angel or communicated to a man in a mountain of smoke.  All of creation bears testimony to the benevolence of our Creator for even the most vile of creatures and detestable characters are still given air to breathe. 

Is it reasonable to believe that the same Creator that so perfectly designed the universe and majesty of this planet and all the celestial bodies would be so tyrannical as to destroy that same creation in any way?

Is it reasonable to consider that man is just not capable of knowing the true nature of our Creator and uses pretended revelations to justify their own lust for blood and power?

© Nelson Rose, The Quest for Light (All Bible quotations were taken from the NIV)

The “First” Family

The climax of Creation is when God creates man and woman (Genesis 1:27). Both are created at the same time and as equals and in the same manner as the other species (meaning multiple men and women) with the only difference being that they were created in God’s own image. This is in contrast to the idea that Adam and Eve were the first humans on earth. Another set of verses that shows that Adam and Eve weren’t alone follow the murder of Cain (Genesis 4:14-16) when Cain is banished and fears the “other people” will kill him. You can also read a little further and find that while he was banished Cain got married and began to build a city (Genesis 4:17). Who did Cain marry and who was he building a city with? The Bible does not mention Adam and Eve having another child until Seth (Genesis 4:25). Seth was another son and not once is a daughter mentioned.. The argument could be used that no daughters were mentioned because the emphasis seems to be on males but, even with that logic if Adam had a daughter for Cain to mate with he couldn’t. Not because its incest but, because he was banished to the land of Nod (Gen 4:16) to begin with. So there had to be other people there.

So what is the point of the story? Why tell such an elaborate tale? Some scholars believe the story of Adam and Eve is a continuation of the creation account and is to be taken literally and some believe it to be a completely different creation account entirely. My belief is that this is another allegorical lesson just like the creation account. It is intended to teach about our Creator’s greatest gifts to us: Reason and Free-will. The account of the first family is highly symbolic and is contrary to Augustine’s invention of the curse of Original Sin. The lesson being taught is about man’s moral weaknesses and self-serving nature. From the very beginning we learn that our very nature causes us to think and act inwardly. This will never give anyone a sense of purpose, it carries no reward and never will.

All of us are created with both darkness and light. The serpent is emblematic of our dark side. The “conversation” between Eve and the serpent symbolizes our internal struggle between doing what is right (light) and wrong (dark). The struggle portrayed in this account is one we all experience on a daily basis. We are all born with the desire to please ourselves. This leads to selfishness and greed. Both of which are the vices that cause almost every conflict. Eve decided for herself to eat the “forbidden fruit”. She made the decision because she wanted to be like God. She wanted what was not her’s to have for her own purposes. So she was acting selfish and out of self-serving greed. We have to learn to accept who we are and what we have been given and not seek what belongs to others or that which was not meant for us. This enables us to focus on being kind to others and helping those who are less fortunate. The “banishment” from the garden symbolizes that selfishness and self-centeredness will always lead to an undesirable outcome and it is often the opposite of what you had intended.

The tragedy of Cain and Abel is a critical lesson. It shows us the worst kind of evil. It shows us our absolute darkest ability. There is nothing worse than taking another person’s life. There is a high value placed on human life – remember that we were created in the “image of God” and therefore murder is an action against God and ALL of mankind. Cain was jealous of Abel and jealousy is totally an act of thinking inwardly. Jealousy is a feeling in which you place yourself above others as though you have an entitlement greater than those around you. When we let the evil within us control us we can become capable of the most vile actions and murder, by far, is worst action of all. Why God did not decide to strike Cain down the instant he committed this horrific act is an example of the need for all of us to forgive, which is the most selfless of all actions. So in one lesson we see our worst and our greatest abilities. Thus from the very beginning of the Bible we see the struggle between darkness and light, good and evil, right and wrong. The reason for this constant struggle is the great enigma and the search for the answer is the true quest for light.

© Nelson Rose, The Quest for Light