Am I the only one whose inner voice for Old Testament God is Ultimate Warrior? It sounds so much better that way.
Since you have refused to obey my laws and regulations and have behaved even worse than your neighbors, I myself, the Sovereign LORD, am now your enemy. I will punish you publicly while all the nations watch. Because of your detestable idols, I will punish you more severely than I have punished anyone before or ever will again. Parents will eat their own children, and children will eat their parents. And I will punish you by scattering the few who survive to the far reaches of the earth.
sounds good to me!
Yahweh had serious anger issues.
I look at Yahweh as an omnipotent, cruel, selfish little princeling. He viewed humans with the same lack of compassion that a little boy might look at his ant farm. He experimented on humans, tortured them, played with them, without regard to human emotion. Yahweh was a spoiled as the child of a king, with no conscience, no morals, no ethics, no feelings other than his own petty jealousies and selfishness. Kind of the "1%" of his species. How the ancient hebrews came up with such a character, I don't know. They had yet to develop a sophisticated sense of ethics themselves. Also, life can be a bitch, and life in ancient Palestine was more so - invasions bu powerful enemies, slavery, subjugation, famines, who knows what. Only a nasty pissypants god would treat his pet that way.
Child with an ant farm... I like that one. I agree with all of your analogies. As for the character development, like you said, times were very different. I always figure that an examination of all past events will paint a picture of the present and possibly the future. Makes me want to spend a few hours researching the journey that Christianity (and other religions) have taken since their inception.
Religions are fun to study. It's like reading science fiction stories, only instead of aliens it's humans and their gods. I would love to take an evolution-of-religions course. Only no time for that.
Actually, Sentient, there's a good book on that very topic. The Evolution of God by Robert Wright. I recommend it.
I'm searching the book now. Thanks for the rec!
That's how I always viewed it. I spent most of church ignoring the sermon and reading the bible. Maybe it's the comic book geek in me. Plus Samson was basically like a biblical Rambo.
Maybe these legends speak to a type of human archetype - Samson, Rambo, Hercules, Conan, Hulk Hogan, The Incredible Hulk....
That reading the bible thing can get you in trouble. Made me into an atheist.
"You know your god is man-made when he hates all the same people you do." Anonymous
YWHW is the super magical version of the city state despots and tribal chiefs of the Bronze and early Iron Ages. When they marched their armies on another mud hut city or village and raped, pillage, and laid waste the countryside, they had to have some rationalization for it; especially for those doing the raping and pillaging. After all, the people of the neighboring city state might get pissed and kill you in the process.
If "Da Sky Boss" ordered it, you could back up your claim with the gullible who had the swords, spears, and chariots who were doing the fighting. And, the extra added bonus was that if you won, you were justified in your own populace's eyes; especially if they shared in the looted goods, women and slaves.
These dictatorial despots (David, Solomon, Ramesses, Xerxes, Aztec and Incan rulers, etc.) justified their own blood lust and desire for conquest by invoking the magical spirits of the sky to rationalize what they did. When you read about the atrocities of YWHW, Marduke, Quetzalcoatl, or Allah, wreaking vengeance and tribulation, what you're really reading is all too normal and darker human emotions and actions of vengeance, murder, theft, rape, and the occasional fantasy about what you'd like to do the guy that did it to you first.
"You know your god is man-made when he hates all the same people you do."
Great quote. From that point of view it connects the dots pretty well. Plus religious texts are still used to justify atrocities today. It must be nice to have a purported omnipotent deity to use as a scapegoat.
Love the scapegoat line.