Is God a moral monster
Religion: Why God Is Not a Moral Model
Values need God. Under this slogan the Protestant Church fights against cross-denominational ethics teaching and for religion as a school subject; and in this sense Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI., fights against "value relativism" as a result of turning away from God. Do values need God?
First of all, one should note: The assertion that there would be no morality without God says nothing about the existence of God. If the claim was true, then people should have invented God; because every society needs ethical guidelines. And indeed, every society in history has had its norms divinely authenticated. But that is no reason for anyone today to believe in Ra, Zeus, Wotan, Baal or the Great Mother.
Anyone who thinks of the murders, intrigues and sexual adventures of Zeus, the father of the gods, also asks what right the Olympian was allowed to impose on the Greeks in any moral way.
The same question can be asked of the God of the Old Testament. No statement by the religious critic Richard Dawkins has caused more outrage than his remark that this god is "one of the most unpleasant figures in world literature". The Dawkins critics overlook the fact that they are talking about literature. If the Bible is not viewed as holy scripture, but as a fictional text, as we now regard the bloodthirsty legends of the Greeks and Teutons, it is difficult not to agree with Dawkins. What should one think of a God who, out of anger at the moral failings of people, wants to extinguish all life on earth in a flood of sin? Who exterminates both cities because of the homosexuality of the men in Sodom and Gomorrah? Who puts Abraham to the test by asking him to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice? Who first hardens the heart of Pharaoh so that he does not let the people of Israel go, and then kills all of Egypt's firstborn as a punishment? Who, because of the apostasy of the Israelites at Sinai, wants to wipe out the whole people, but is then satisfied with the slaughter of three thousand men? Who demands of Israel to expel the resident population in the Promised Land or to devote them to annihilation?
What should one think of a god who not only demands the death penalty for murder, but also for abuse or cursing parents, work on the Sabbath, idolatry, witchcraft, necromancy, adultery, intercourse with animals, between man and man, with various relatives and Coitus interruptus? Who, for the sake of a bet, leaves pious Job to Satan? Isn't this figure even more unpleasant than Zeus? Theologians object to such criticism of the God of the Old Testament that it is “unhistorical”. And it is. It is a literary, not a historical, criticism. Throughout history, people have developed their morals. Accordingly, some of the requirements of the Scriptures seem downright immoral to us today. Apparently it is not that values need God. Rather, they develop historically with the progress of society, science, morals, laws, philosophy, in short: the spirit of the times. And modern theologians then use these man-made values to measure what is still literally valid in the Bible and what is to be understood “historically”, ie, to be forgotten as far as possible.
The Old Testament is also part of the Holy Scriptures
Another objection to criticism of the Old Testament is that it promotes anti-Semitism. Bishop Wolfgang Huber made this accusation against Richard Dawkins, who angrily replied, “Rubbish!” Nonsense, indeed. First of all, the Old Testament is just as much a part of the Christian Scriptures as the New.
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