One Response to “My Confession (Part Seven)”

  1. “The indoctrination of our childhood religion has made us forget the abject brutality and senseless massacres of millions of people in the Old Testament. The Bible portrays a world that when retold today and with our modern sensibility, is staggering in its savagery. Theses stories implicate all the heroes, the ones we drew with crayons and chalk, and gently placed on flannel boards in Sunday School.”

    Indeed. And the god whom they served.

    In reading Deuteronomy I am wrestling with this conundrum of righteous violence.

    So, turning to scripture to read scripture, I recognize the echoes of holiness. Time after time sin is obliterated. Sometimes the sinful are the most helpless in the accounts. Is there justice in these stories? No. There is only holy and unholy. There is repentant and unrepentant. There is sacred and profane. There is set apart and rubbish.

    These scriptures are not a story of a just god who treats everyone fairly. This is a my-way-or-the-highway god who picks winners and losers. When he punishes it is grotesque. When he rewards it is sometimes obscene. He is repulsive to the thoughtful humanist or humanitarian. Any person has no inherent value except wherein is a reflection of him. There is no remorse or regret for obscene brutality.

    This god seems like an egotistic, self-serving maniac who suits the whims of a medieval monarch or despotic regime, but appalling to the sympathetic human sharing the miserable struggle with his fellow man. His god does not pick sides. He is gracious and fair to everyone. He shows favor, if anyone, to the poor and helpless. He wields power, not to annihilate anyone he deems unholy, but to rescue the helpless.

    It seems juvenile to read Genesis through Malachi as a pretext to the gospels. I won’t demean the conversation with such simplistic rationale.

    How, then, do we live in an enlightened, egalitarian, humanitarian era?

    As you’ve rightly pointed out, many do not wrestle with these matters, deferring to dogma, orthodoxy, or resigning themselves to blind obedience or discarding it all.

    This is a well-trodden path. Your transparent confession continues to explore its turns like a hiker’s journal while traveling along a forest trail.

Created by Randy Elrod
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