For the purpose of this article, I will humour those who believe in God, and I hope those who do not believe will humour me, as – despite my scepticism about who or what God is –I’m still undecided as to whether I believe He exists. I would like to apologise to those who believe in advance – you’ll realise why when you read on – however I’d like to point out that God knew who I’d be before I was born and already knew what I’d think and what I would come to write, yet He still created me and so in one way or another, I’d assume that if He exists, He’d most likely condone my work.
The problems I have stem from the fact that none of it, ultimately, makes any logical sense. I have accumulated questions in general about God and a copious amount more regarding the Bible; why people believe; the inconsistencies that arise from the both the Bible and the beliefs that people hold based on the teachings of this book. In addition to these queries, I wanted to look further into whether the teachings from the Bible and religions in general are still necessary in the contemporary era.
Let’s look to Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament. We are told that God created all of the stars and the moons and, in fact, the entire universe and all things in it; I do wonder why, after just six days of creating the Earth, He needed a rest. It seems that God is not as powerful as we are lead to believe, as He required something as basic and human-like as a ‘rest’.
Similarly in Genesis, it states that God used a rib from Adam to create Eve. Now, it seems quite unlikely that a being as powerful as God, who created the whole universe from nothing, would need a pre-existing item in order to create something new.
Finally, regarding the flood that saw Noah and his family driven to build an ark, if God is omnipotent, why did He not just kill off all those who were no longer fit to be on the Earth instead of making poor Noah go to the trouble of making an ark, having to endure possible seasickness (I’m speculating on that part), muck out the animal’s s**t, live off food that by the end, would most certainly have gone past its use-by date etc. etc., it just doesn’t make sense, especially as there weren’t that many people alive on the earth at that point who could easily have been destroyed by God.
Let’s suppose we take the Bible literally and word for word – which we are told that we should. Whilst thinking of Noah and his plight to stay alive, it troubled me that it was all avoidable, after all, God is omniscient. Why did God not see this coming? And if He did, why did he bother in the first place to create those who would be so awful that He wouldn’t want them to be alive anymore? It seems as though He hadn’t thought his plan through.
Whilst we’re on the subject of ‘God not thinking his plans through’, the above, unfortunately, is not an isolated event. When creating all of the animals, God had the foresight to make two of (most) creatures, one male, one female, so that they may reproduce and fill the Earth with their offspring. However, when it came to making Man, God clearly either forgot or decided that He wanted Adam as the only human; he later changed his mind and thought that it would be nice for Adam to have a mate and that they too could replenish the Earth, thus, He created Eve. Seeing as though we’re now talking of Eve, God – being omniscient –knew beforehand that she would eat from the tree of knowledge, he then punished her for it. One way or another, there’s a part to this story that He hasn’t thought through. There are three ways that I would suggest to God as to how he could have gotten around this problematic ‘Eve debacle’: either do not create Eve in the first place (problem solved); don’t create the tree of knowledge (this one would certainly have solved more problems than just Eve’s mischievousness) or don’t create that sneaky snake who misinformed Eve about the consequences of her actions.
In Genesis, it is also written that after flooding the Earth and killing everyone bar Noah and his family, God promised that He would never do it again (much like a toddler after one hell of a tantrum). God appears to be a forgetful old soul as He felt the need to create a rainbow and insisted that whenever a rainbow appeared, it would be a reminder that He would never flood the Earth again.
Promising not to commit mass murder ever, ever again was nice of God; however, without intending to dent His confidence too much by pointing out some of His faults and shortfalls by way of ‘plans He didn’t think through’, let’s again turn to Genesis: now He’s got it in for the birds, what they’ve done, I do not know, it doesn’t say. What it does say though is “Even fowls have sinned and He repented making them”…. Poor God, If only He’d thought through His plan of making birds He wouldn’t be in this predicament.
From just these few examples alone, I can only surmise that God – if He does exist – is not all that omniscient.
Omnipresent – the ability to be everywhere simultaneously. “Great” you think, “then He’ll be with me at all times, for all time” – Apparently not. This ‘omnipresent’ part of God gets me a-wondering: If God is with us, why does He not protect us, He is after all omnipotent and it would be well within his capability to protect us from harm. Why is it then that bad things happen to us? Where exactly was God when the twin towers were falling, because I have a feeling that He wasn’t with those people that day, nor was He at the Pentagon; in fact, nor is he when there are children starving to death and/or simultaneously dying of disease, diarrhoea and dysentery. Where is He when children call out for help when they are victims of abuse? Where is He when people are in terrible pain, both physically and emotionally, crying out for it all to just stop? All of these lead me to believe that God is either unable to help (but this can’t be true as he is omnipotent) or unwilling to help (also not true, as God is omnibenevolent). I can only conclude from this that, unlike those who insist that it is because God does not interfere, it is more logical to determine that God, in fact, does not exist. I truly believe that if God did exist, and it was the loving God that we read about in the New Testament (after He stopped throwing the tantrums that He did in the Old Testament), He would be omnipresent and the Pope wouldn’t have to have the windows of his vehicle fitted with bullet-proof glass.
As recorded above, God changed His mind about His behaviour and outlook on how He dealt with us mere mortals. In the New Testament, He changed His tune and became omnibenevolent. We know He changed His mind because He was certainly nowhere near being omnibenevolent in the Old Testament, what with the genocides, threats, support of slavery and incest etc. An example of His un-benevolence in the Old Testament is taken from Deuteronomy 7: “Make no treaty with the nations of the land. You are a holy people, the LORD has chosen you. He will drive out the nations before you”. This clearly doesn’t sound like a very loving God, who created these nations and insisted that He would ‘drive them out’ because He then chose some others as the holy people; I might add that this is seemingly another case of when God hasn’t thought through His plans, as this could have been avoided if only He’d not bothered to create anyone who wasn’t a part of the ‘holy people’.
Again, relating back to the omnipresent-ness of God, if He were truly omnibenevolent He would certainly try to protect all of the humans that he is said to love so much.
There are parts of the Bible and things about God that just do not make sense; whether they literally do not make sense as in Deuteronomy 8: “The LORD led you in the wilderness and tested you. He is bringing you into a good land. Do not forget the LORD or you shall perish”. In response, a) there are people who have forgotten the Lord and have not perished, b) everyone will perish anyway… doesn’t make sense, I will also point out, that God does not interfere, so why is He going around ‘testing’ people? Or those that we now know through science, not to be true as in the pain God made all women suffer during childbirth doesn’t fit with the fact that as we evolved, and our craniums grew, that is the actual reason that childbirth hurts (subsequently, why human infants are born prematurely to their animal/ ape counterparts). Other parts are just nonsensical and there are questions about the practicalities of the stories etc. Instead of writing a few pages more for this part, the list has been bulleted for speed and, thus, does not delve deeply into the details of each, nor the numerous questions which would arise from every one.
- Leviticus 18: “Don’t have sex with a relative, a woman on her period, your neighbour’s wife, another man or an animal. These things defile the land.” What? I mean, yes, by all means it’s not good manners to go sleeping with your neighbours wife; potentially messy with the woman during her menstruation and certainly not a good idea to sleep with an animal, but I think it’s untrue to say that the land will suffer.
- The Bible sounds more like the writings of men at that time who knew no better. Surely God would have given them some information about life outside of their generation so that we may understand it nowadays.
- According to the Bible; preadamic, (and so pre-man) there were no dinosaurs etc. We know through scientific evidence that there were many creatures that came before man.
- Regarding Cain: “And the Lord said to him: No it shall not be so: but whoever shall kill Cain, shall be punished sevenfold”…. According to the Bible so far- the only people that exist are Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel (who’s now dead) – who else was going to come across Cain and try to kill him?
- “And Cain knew his wife, and she conceived, and brought forth Henoch”… where did this wife come from… like it says in the Bible, the only people alive are Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel (deceased).
- Henoch begot Irad, and Irad begot Maviael etc. etc. Again, who are they having sex with to have these children- Eve? It’s all a bit incestual, is it not?! What happened to not sleeping with your relatives?
- Adam lived 130 years? Really? Then after Seth was born he lived another 800 years…. I think not.
- Everyone was supposedly a giant in those days….
- The length of the ark was 300 cubits (approx. 137 metres) – how on earth did two of every animal fit. Aside from all of the mammals, there would be all the different types of species of rodents, amphibians, birds, insects, arachnids etc. Did the sea life get to just live then…? I’m guessing if so, they had not sinned?
- Also, in this relatively small ark, not only two of every creature must fit, but also a food store for all of them for a hundred and fifty days.
- Did they not get scurvy on the arc?
- The dove came back with a bough of an olive tree- wouldn’t the plants be dead after spending 6 months under water?
- If man was made to the image of God- why did they do bad things that God didn’t want them to do.
- The blessing of Sem and the curse on Chanaan… bit of a pointless story.
- Sara was 90 when she gave birth?
- Maybe I shouldn’t have worried so much about that pesky Eve having relations with her sons, incest’s back again, this time Lot’s been ‘avin’ it off with his daughters after they got him pissed.
- Exodus 3: Moses saw a burning bush. God told him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Moses asked God his name and God said, “I am who I am.”- God sounds a bit like a Yorkshire man.
Again, the majority of these points look more like the writings of a Bedouin of the time, and not messages from an omniscient being.
Having read the Bible and being brought up in a Christian community of schools, friends and family etc. There are questions about God and the Bible that I have yet to find the answer to. Despite speaking with a Minister, these queries are still unanswered. If you do have an answer for any of these please do let me know. N.B. Answers that involve “God works in mysterious ways”, “There are things as humans that we cannot understand and we must trust the Lord”, “Only God can know why that is…” etc. shan’t be considered as acceptable answers, purely because they are not serving the purpose of an answer to my particular questions.
1) Why did God make us, knowing that we would be who we are and do the things we do, and then punish us for it? It seems a bit twisted that He would do such a thing.
2) Eternity in Hell seems like a long time in relation to the amount of time that we’re on earth committing sins. (70 or so years)
3) People seem to think that they can thank God for answering prayers/ certain things that happen to them in life – should they, considering that He doesn’t intervene, (and aid people when they need Him, as in the 9/11 scenario). If they can thank Him for answering prayers or for good things that happen in their lives, then it should be a two-way street in that they should also blame him for when atrocities occur or when terrible things happen in their lives.
4) If He does intervene (of which there doesn’t seem to be a unanimous decision) it seems that He’s very selective of whose prayers he answers, and which ones.
5) When believers pray because they/their children are starving to death from no crops- how hard would it be to send rain seeing as he is omnipotent? Seems as though God is a cruel God since he knew these people would face these events in their lives.
6) Why is the Bible so sexist? Because of Eve, all women should be ‘under’ men –that doesn’t seem very fair to make all women become second class citizens to men for one woman’s misdemeanour (which we discussed could have all been avoided).
7) Why did God advocate slavery?
8) Why was God so present and talking to people, then just stopped?
9) Why does God have to remain hidden? I’ve heard it to be because if He showed Himself, then we wouldn’t have free will to believe in Him. But this raises more questions- notably that He already has shown Himself, and why is there no proof? It can’t be because there would be no free will to believe as Jesus wouldn’t have shown himself in first place etc. etc.
If there is a God
- Just because someone can’t prove that God doesn’t exist, it no more means that He is real over the fact that people can’t prove that my friend Rose is real because people cannot prove that she does not exist.
- Why do the goalposts continue to move? E.g. Less than 200 years ago, Christians resolutely believed in creationism. Now, with evidence to suggest that, in fact evolution occurred, minds have changed and now it’s acceptable to think that God made evolution happen… Nowhere in the Bible is evolution mentioned.
- Why do many Christians appear to interpret the Bible how they see fit? If ten different Christians were asked the same question regarding prayer (as an example), I’m 99.99% sure I would get at least five different responses.
- Why did God create us at all?
- If God knows everything, including the future, then we don’t really have free will do we?
- Why did God change his mind about becoming an all-loving God? (Regarding his seeming personality transplant from the Old Testament to the New?)
- If God is so great- why isn’t the Bible better and more awe-inspiring? If a book was written (or at least inspired from the messages of God) you would think it would astound us and there would be no doubt as to the wisdom within. Instead, we get a load of stories about a God with human emotions (jealousy, resentment, anger, love etc.), a God who was a mass murderer who turned over a new leaf and became a loving Father; stories of incest, war and others that aren’t really about anything in particular.
- Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. The Bible says, “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!” [Psalm 139:16] – Ergo, God planned abortions and those who died in the holocaust?
Parallels between the story of Jesus and other Gods/ religions etc.:
In regards to those who wrote it… it was written sometime after Jesus’ life, by people who had not witnessed the events first hand and therefore, it was probably much like Chinese whispers. Also I can’t imagine literacy rates were too high back then… it all seems a bit dodgy.
The vestiges of pagan religion in Christian symbology are undeniable. Egyptian sun disks became the halos of Catholic saints. Pictograms of Isis nursing her miraculously conceived son Horus became the blueprint for our modern images of the Virgin Mary nursing Baby Jesus. And virtually all the elements of the Catholic ritual – the miter, the altar, the doxology, and communion, the act of “God-eating” – were taken directly from earlier pagan mystery religions.
Nothing in Christianity is original. The pre-Christian God Mithras – called the Son of God and the Light of the World – was born on December 25, died, was buried in a rock tomb, and then resurrected in three days. By the way, December 25 is also the birthday or Osiris, Adonis, and Dionysus. The new-born Krishna was presented with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Even Christianity’s weekly holy day was stolen from the pagans
The dictionary defines delusion as, “A false belief strongly held in spite of invalidating evidence.”
Isn’t it a coincidence that most people in our society ‘find’ the Christian God/ way of life/ Bible etc.? You very rarely hear of people finding Zoroastrianism, despite it being one of the oldest monotheistic religions, Mormon, Hindu etc…. This leads me to believe that it is cultural interference that helps people ‘find’ God and is actually culturally determined.
As religions start to decrease in numbers, e.g. Zoroastrianism, Greek Gods, Norse mythology, will we not look back at Christianity and such like and render it, too, as a myth?
There may well be a God, however, if there is, I highly doubt that we should be using the Bible as a guide to who He is and what He wants us to do. I shan’t dispute the fact that there are many messages in the Bible that are good ways of living your life, such as treating others how you would like to be treated, not murdering others and generally how to be a good person. I do believe though, that this is biologically inbuilt into us as humans as a way of preserving the species. If they weren’t, then atheists would all be murdering, homosexual, racist thugs… which will be discussed more in Part II.