Saturday, June 6, 2015

Servants of the "Angry" God

Angry God
There is a myth in Christian mythology to the effect that somehow, between the Old and New Testaments, God had some kind of conversion experience. After this, He became a much nicer God and let up on all that obedience stuff in favor of a looser, more pagan friendly lifestyle. Many attribute the change in attitude of God the Father to His having worked out a lot of His anger by punishing his Son on the cross in our place, which, this unexamined myth goes, turned God into a God of Love and no longer a God of Vengeance.

This seldom consciously examined theory reminds me of the theory that in the mid 60s Republicans, the heirs of Abraham Lincoln, all suddenly became racists. Meanwhile, the guys who ordered firemen and cops to turn the fire hoses on Dr. King and other Civil Rights marchers and who previously had run around in white robes with pointy hats burning crosses, churches and scaring
Post-Crucifixion Cuddly Happy Non-threatening God
the life out of little black children, supposedly all suddenly got saved and began to love black people. That's the story anyway and they're sticking to it.  The idea that the God of the Old Testament is any other God than the God of Love we find throughout the New Testament is preposterous. If you do even a light examination of Scripture. Take a look. I challenge you to examine why God was wrathful and you might come to a rather different conclusion as to the character of God the Father.

Cleanest picture I could find of temple prostitution.
You see here the sorts of things that
Scripture tells us that God got angry about.
Can you blame him?
If you check out the Old Testament stories where God is portrayed as vengeful or wrathful, and you look at the kinds of things He was mad about, then imagine yourself in His place, you might draw a rather different picture of His character.  When the prophets condemned what went on in the groves and the sacrifices taking places on the high places, they weren't talking about the Hebrews attending Friday night football games instead of going to temple. They were talking about things like the annual slaughter of some 25,000 infants a year. Moloch's priests demanded that you toss your newborn infant across a wide fiery pit as part of presenting him to the stone god.  If you didn't throw the kid far enough or the receiving parent fumbled the kid and dropped him in the pit, the priests chalked it all up as a sacrifice for the good of all the people to appease the gods. Another fun Friday night activity was the sacrifice of virgins to make crops grow. This fun practice involved tying a naked virgin out in the fields and cutting her up so that she bled to death slowly and "made the field fertile".  Then there was the systematic prostitution of young women in the temples of Baal and Ashteroth, Dagon and Astarte. Twelve to 15 year-old girls were forced to serve as temple prostitutes. The dirty old men of the town would pay for their services. When the girl had earned sufficient money for the god (and, by the way, the priests), then they could be released to be sold to some old guy to be his third or fourth wife. If you were a homely girl, you had to work a lot harder and longer to be released. Anyway you get the idea.

You can kind of see why even a God of Love might be a little angry at such goings on.
If I were God and my people were committing all those horrors, I'd get more than a little chapped at them too.
I might well be tempted to blast the whole gang of pederasts, pedophiles and perverts into a big ash cloud, just to clean things up a bit in Caanan.

Just look at how angry we Americans have been lately at just one guy who admitted that he molested his sisters. Mind you this was decades ago, when he was a stupid, hormone-soaked 14 year old living in a culture that throws sexual images at children from the time they can sit in front of the boob tube. How is it that we are surprised at this?  The man was a kid at the time AND he tried to make it right at the time and still, many of us are ready to descend on him and his family like a pack of ravening wolves and to crucify him, to totally destroy his entire life, to shame his sisters and to destroy everything good the man has done since. And this mob that's crying for blood are the very same self-righteous prigs who complain because the God of the Old Testament is a little too judgmental for their tastes!

Should not God have gotten angry at the systematic pedophilia and sadism of the priests of the Canaanite religions and the people who supported them, especially those who knew better? Those people were a bunch of perverts. I'd tell you to read up on some of their practices, but I'd rather not recommend that you read that sort of pornography. It's enough to say, it was very sick and disturbing, what went on when Israel went a-backsliding in the hill grove temples.

Does that make God a vengeful deity or is He, instead, a loving Father protecting his helpless and innocent children? Was God justly angry at their mistreatment by people who weren't 14 years old at the time, didn't EVER apologize or try to make it right, and killed anyone who said anything negative about what they were doing?

Enquiring minds want know.

Tom King © 2014