Unless you were one of the fortunate ones who happened to have a Sunday school teacher who wasn’t afraid to be bluntly blasphemous you were told that God is a truly nice guy, watching after us from above with a loving tender, ready to forgive every sin. The Bible, however, contains some mind blowing stories that paint God anything but nice.
In fact, it seems some of the most destructive emotions, which most modern and cultured people find so appalling, are to be found in God as well. As you’ll see from the Bible passages below, God was a raging, jealous, vain, cruel, and pompous ass. Is this really possible or did we play a role here? What if after all, it wasn’t the God that painted us in his image but we painted God in our own?
Here‘s how the The Old Testament paints God’s mental make-up:
1. Trigger happy with sharp weapons, smoking nostrils and in love with pyrotechnics:
“Fire goes out from his presence to consume his enemies on every side.” (PS 97:3) – Quite a flamboyant personality, eh?
“The earth trembled and quaked, and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. (PS 18:7-8) – You sure we’re really talking about “God” here?
“Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused. Then fire from the Lord burned among them and consumed some of the outskirts of the camp.” (Num 11:1) – Repent you losers!
“Sun and moon stood still in the heavens at the glint of your flying arrows, at the lightning of your flashing spear. In wrath you strode through the earth and in anger you threshed the nations.” (Habakkuk 3:12) – Extermination by the Great design, eh?
“God will shoot them with his arrows; they will suddenly be struck down. He will turn their own tongues against them and bring them to ruin; all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.” (Psalm 64) – And this is Him on a good hair day.
“The Lord will cause people to hear his majestic voice and will make them see his arm coming down with raging anger and consuming fire, with cloudburst, thunderstorm and hail.” (Is 30:30) – I am sure just seeing His arm would have done the job to scare the crap out of them.
2. Super short fuse and foul temper:
“Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment.” (Psalm 2:12) – Sounds like a full plate for a good therapist.
“See, the day of the LORD is coming –a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger– to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.” (Is 13:9) – Damn, I’d rather be in hell that day.
“God is angry every day.” (Ps 7:11) – Tattoo anyone?
“The Lord is a man of war.” (Ex 15:3) – How’s that for a bumper sticker?
“When I sharpen my flashing sword and my hand grasps it in judgment, I will take vengeance on my adversaries and repay those who hate me. I will make my arrows drunk with blood, while my sword devours flesh: the blood of the slain and the captives, the heads of the enemy leaders.” (Deut 32:41-42) – Quite a drama queen, eh?
3. Be afraid, be very afraid!
Job (a central character of the Book of Job in the Bible) says “No wonder I am so terrified in his presence. When I think of it, terror grips me.” Job 23:15 Even Jesus advised to fear God (Lk-12:4-5) – Osama Bin Godden.
The Bible also advises that everyone who does not love God will suffer eternally in hell. Even if you are honest, generous, kind, and compassionate, doesn’t matter – “burn in hell!”
4. Jealous and intolerant of other Gods:
“For the Lord is a devouring fire, a jealous God (Deut 4:24) – Definitely some serious control issues there.
“For the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.” (Deut: 6:15) – He forgot about the acid in our face with this one.
“If your brother, the son of your mother, or your son or your daughter or the wife you embrace or your friend who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods,’ which neither you nor your fathers have known, some of the gods of the peoples who are around you, whether near you or far off from you, from the one end of the earth to the other, But do not give in or listen. Have no pity, and do not spare or protect them. You must put them to death! Strike the first blow yourself, and then all the people must join in.” (Deut 13:6) – That’s right, if your wife happens to be a Zoroastrian, go ahead and burry her alive, permission granted.
5. Merciless war monger:
“You must destroy all the nations the LORD your God hands over to you. Show them no mercy, and do not worship their gods, or they will trap you.” (Deut 7:16) – Sounds like something a Napoleon would say.
“And when the LORD your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroy them totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.” (Deut 7:2) – Not aware of a single warlord on Earth with such ambitions.
6. Collective punishment that does not fit the crime, unjust and unfair for modern court system:
“If after all this you will not listen to me, I will punish you for your sins seven times over.” (Lev 26:18) – Hey relax buster, not even karma is that cruel.
Of course he proves it with centuries of untold misery and suffering by unleashing a number diseases, pneumonic plagues, as a way of expressing his anger and exercising vengeance.
“I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” (Deut 5:9) – God damn grandpa, why did you have to tick him off so bad!?
“And while the children of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man that gathered sticks upon the Sabbath day. God said the man must die. The whole assembly must stone him outside the camp.” So the assembly took him outside the camp and stoned him to death as the Lord commanded Moses. (Num 15:32-36) – Are you sure Taliban is reading Kuran, and not the Old Testament?
7. Nasty tricks to display his powers:
Sometimes God inflicts hideous handicap or disease just to show he’s quite capable of fixing it. For example he created some people blind, made them beg and grope around in total darkness only so that Jesus can come and heal them in God’s name, demonstrating his awesome power:
Jesus admits to this by saying “As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? ‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus, ‘but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” John 9:1
8. It’s all the Devil’s work? Not so fast!:
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.” (Is 45:7) – Oopsie dasies.
Doesn’t the biblical God seem to be sharing character traits awfully close to the men who could have written the bible at that time? Perhaps God realized this after he read the Old Testament, and as a result, sent Jesus to undertake some reputation management. With a few exceptions, God appears as he had gone through a rehab and is acting much nicer and more mature in a New Testament.
Forward two thousand years and God (at least the Christian one) seems to be enjoying a well balanced and deserved moral high ground. Due to infusion of Eastern Wisdom into our Western Cultures, some are even reshaping God’s image to a compassionate, wise, all pervading Universal consciousness that manifests in the souls of every sentient being. Don’t know about you, but I like this fella much better. (Image: Anoop Negi – Flickr)
The words we use for the Creator are a reflect of ourselves. If we think of God as fear and shame, we are scared and have something to be ashamed of…But if we see love, compassion and kindness, it is because we possess these qualities. ~ Shams Tabrizi