The twentieth century produced some horrifying mass murderers, including Peter Kurten “the Dusseldorf Vampire,” Ted Bundy, Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy, and numerous others. In addition, there are the unspeakable evils committed in totalitarian nation states such as Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Soviet Union, and Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia. Faced with the potential horrors of modern living, many people turn to the Bible for solace and comfort. They imagine an all-good god who listens sympathetically to them and offers great wisdom through scripture. It is claimed and almost universally believed that this god loves the human race. This article will approach the Bible and its god from a vastly different perspective.
As we will see, a deity who loves humanity is nowhere to be found in the Bible. Instead, scripture reveals a bloodthirsty megalomaniac who demands unquestioning obedience from his “children,” and never hesitates to use violence and mass murder when it suits him to do so. God’s barbarity is virtually screamed out from every page of the Old Testament, and Jesus in the New tells us that “my father and I are one.” In order to escape the logical ramifications of what is plainly written in scripture, believers resort to all kinds of absurd rationalizations ranging from ad hominem attacks on skeptics to ignoring the facts altogether. But, as we will see, the Bible is its own worst enemy.
The Bible often lists the number of victims of god’s various massacres, which he either committed himself or ordered his sheep-like followers to do. Let us suppose for the sake of argument that the Bible is literally true, as today’s fundamentalists would have us believe. Here then is a partial list of these murders:
- 3000 Israelites in Ex. 32: 27-28. These are god’s own “chosen people.”
- 14,700 Jews in Num. 16: 44-49
- 24,000 more Israelites in Num. 25: 4-9
- 12,000 men, women, and children of the city of Ai in Josh. 8: 19-29
- 10,000 Perizzites and Canaanites in Judges 1: 4
- 10,000 Moabites in Judges 3: 29
- 600 Philistines in Judges 3: 31
- 120,000 Midianites in Judges 8: 10
- 100 more Philistines in Judges 15: 15
- 25,100 Benjaminites in Judges 20: 25
- 50,070 residents of Bethshemesh in 1 Samuel 6: 19
- 200 Philistine men, who were murdered for their foreskins in 1 Samuel 18: 27
- 22,000 Syrians in 2 Samuel 8: 5
- 40,000 more Syrians in 2 Samuel 10: 18
- 70,000 men of the people of Dan in 2 Samuel 6: 19
- 127,000 more Syrians in 1 Kings 20: 28-30
- 42 children, killed and eaten by bears in 2 Kings 2: 23-24
- 185,000 Assyrians in 2 Kings 19: 35
- 500,000 men of Israel in 2 Chron. 28: 5-6
- 20,000 Edomites in 2 Chron. 25: 11-12
- 120,000 Judeans in 2 Chron. 28: 5-6
- 75,500 people in Esther 9: 1-16
Adding up all these victims, we come up with a figure of 1,430,612. A million and a half human beings (including women and children) exterminated by a god we are told is all-good and loving. And all in the name of morality!
But there is more, much more. The above list is only the numbered victims. Add to it the following unnumbered butcheries:
- Earth’s entire population (including plants and animals) except for a handful of people in the great flood described in Gen. 7: 23
- All the residents of Sodom and Gommorah in Gen. 19: 24-25
- All the firstborn in Egypt in Ex. 12: 29
- Amalek and all his people in Ex. 17: 13
- All male Midianites in Num. 31: 6-12
- The Ammonites in Deut. 2, the Horims in Deut. 2: 22, and the Ammorites in Deut. 2: 33-35
- All the people of Og in Num. 21: 33-35, of Makkedah in Josh. 10: 28, of Libnah in Josh. 10: 29-30, of Lachish in Josh. 10: 32, of Gezer in Josh. 10: 33, of Eglon in Josh. 10: 34-35, of Hebron in Josh. 10: 36-37, and of Goshen in Josh. 11: 12-16
- All of the people of Hormah, Gaza, Askelon, and Ekron in Judges 1: 17-19
- The Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites (again!) Canaanites, Perrizites, Hivites, and Jebusites in Deut. 7: 1-5
This god, if he/she/it/they exists, is responsible for the greatest genocide in history. Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot pale by comparison.
As a sidebar, it is also most curious that the people who maintain the inerrancy of scripture have never been able to tell us just where all these millions of murder victims are buried. If the Bible is literally true, as they contend, the corpses of countless millions of people due to God’s genocides must be buried somewhere. Believers seem unconcerned with such “trifles” as if the truth will someday come out. Contemporary archaeology, which is now so refined that we can turn up the remains of a forgotten bronze age campfire, certainly should have come up with something. Instead, we have only silence. There is only one honest conclusion to arrive at.
The Bible also enthusiastically supports the death penalty (usually by stoning) for those who commit offenses considered to be grievous, such as:
- A rebellious son (Deut. 21: 18-21)
- A wife found not to be a virgin (Deut. 20: 21)
- Adulterers (Deut. 22: 22)
- Anyone who curses their parents (Lev. 20: 9)
- Homosexuals (Lev. 20: 13)
- Bestiality (Lev. 20: 15). For good measure, the animal is also to be killed.
- Wizards (Dev. 20: 27)
- Witches (Ex. 22: 18)
Number eight above led to the persecution, torture, and death of countless thousands of innocents accused of being witches.
In addition, the Bible also contains an endless assortment of other absurdities, barbarities, and contradictions, including the insistence that a man shall only take a virgin for a wife (one of countless examples of biblical misogyny) in Lev. 21: 14. Children are to be happily dashed to pieces in not one, but three different places: Hosea 13: 16, Isaiah 13: 16, and Psalms 137: 9. Slavery, which was ubiquitous the world over until fairly recent times, is nowhere condemned in the Bible, including Ex. 21: 21, Col. 3: 22, and 1 Peter 2: 18-20. If the Bible were truly a good moral guide, one would think that it would have at least something to say about human bondage (and war, child abuse and numerous other immoral and destructive things), yet it does not. Its silence speaks volumes, if only believers were honest enough to admit it.
Many Christians will admit that the Old Testament is “pretty violent” and then smugly insist that the New Testament supersedes the old. Unfortunately for them, this just does not wash; the New Testament is every bit as evil as the old. Christian apologists are refuted by their own New Testament in which Jesus himself (assuming the dubious notion that he actually existed) is said to have been sent to uphold “every jot and tittle” of the Old Testament (Matt. 5: 18) and nowhere are the atrocities related in the Old Testament condemned in the new. Indeed, a new evil is added: everlasting torment for those who do not believe. Is the addition of Hell an example of Christian moral superiority?
There is simply no way to read all the nonsense in the Bible and still insist that god is all good. No amount of rationalizing, no clever linguistic analyses and contortions, and no amount of righteous piety will transform the genocidal god of the Bible into the benevolent father figure so deeply desired in the believer’s imagination; the Bible itself tells us about god’s real nature. God’s only excuse is that he does not exist! It is a telling indictment against our society that so many of our citizens can condemn Hitler’s Holocaust on the one hand and then wave aside their god’s Holocaust on the other.
Such people would do well to read the Bible they revere, and to do so with a more critical eye. In Zech. 8: 10 their god says “For I set all men every one against his neighbor.” This is the god they are worshiping, the same deity who is described as a man of war in Ex. 15: 3 and who admits to creating evil in Isaiah 45: 7. Is this deity worthy of worship—or condemnation? One’s answer to this question will reveal their true moral leanings.
The problem is that there are so many hard-line religious fundamentalists who hold great positions of power not only in our government, but worldwide, who are actively working to bring about the “final battle” of Armageddon since it is prophesied in the New Testament. Two of our most recent presidents fall into this category, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. For those who may have forgotten, it was Reagan who in 1981 stated “For the first time ever, everything is in place for the battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ.” Fundamentalist religions are the single greatest threat to the survival of the human race. They brook no compromise, feel no compassion for anyone not of their faith, and are actively attempting to return us to the Christian Dark Ages when faith was more important than reason, and exterminating the enemy was considered a moral imperative, justified in scripture. These people are in our government, our defense industry, and our media. We as a species must act now to ensure that they are first marginalized, and then removed from any position of power. The notion that it is somehow not polite to criticize people’s religious beliefs work to their advantage, and this helps them to have a devastating effect on our cultural, social, and moral fabric of not only the United States, but the world community. We ignore them at our peril.
The Bible is probably the most evil and certainly the most destructive book ever written. When we look around us at all the evils in the world, and search for root causes, the Bible rears its ugly head again and again. Until we as a species recognize this, we will continue to live in a moral Dark Age.
- The Mythic Past: Biblical Archaology and the Myth of Israel by Thomas L. Thompson. Published by Basic Books, Great Britain 1999
- Racing Toward Armageddon by Michael Baigent. Published by Harper One, NY 2009
- The Age Of American Unreason by Susan Jacoby. Published by Pantheon Books, NY 2008
- God’s Defenders: What They Believe And Why They Are Wrong by S.T. Joshi. Published by Prometheus Books, Amherst, NY 2003
- Losing Faith In Faith by Dan Barker. Published by FFRF,Madison WI 1992
By: Jon Nelson