Those "Disgusting" Scriptures

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Disgusting?

That’s not my description of Scripture. It’s how a responder to another of my hubs characterized passages in Scripture that have God condoning and even ordering the slaughter of women, children, elderly and animals. A number of specific incidents were quoted. One of these incidents in found in II Samuel 11,12. It’s worth the few minutes it will take to read both chapters. It is the account of David’s adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband, Uriah. With uncanny acumen the prophet, Nathan, brings David to admit his horrible deeds. That’s when David hears the following from the prophet. “Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house, because you have despised me and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife.” Thus says the Lord, “Behold, I will raise up evil against you out of your own house. And I will take your wives before your eyes and give them to your neighbor, and he shall lie with your wives in the sight of this sun.” (II Sam 12:10,11)

God did it!

I am struck by how God owns responsibility for what will happen. You find that often in Scripture. God’s character is such that he will not spin a story to make himself look good. He will reveal the truth no matter what we think of it or him. So ultimately it is accurate to say that everything that happens, good or evil, has been brought about by God. Proverbs 16:4 states, The Lord has made everything for its purpose, even the wicked for the day of trouble. So yes, it cannot be denied that God instigated the horrific events mentioned.

The questions then become "why?" and "how?" It’s clear that God intends to discipline his man. Interestingly, David, "the man after God’s heart," accepted humbly the consequences of his sin. But all those women and children? I’ll get to that. Now here is the “how?”. God draws back his restraining grace so that the evil that seeths in human hearts boils over to accomplish precisely what He intends.

A mouthful

I understand that you may have a hard time swallowing what I just wrote. Actually it's impossible to digest unless you have a huge perspective shift. Ready?

We humans naturally think far more highly of ourselves than is warranted by the evidence. Given the right set of circumstances everyone one of us is capable of the most horrific crimes. Think of the most horrific crimes in the new lately. Jerry Sandusky comes to mind. You and I are capable of doing what he did and worse. And we would except for the restraining grace of God. Paul links together a host of Old Testament quotes to show how evil we are.

“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.” (Romans 3:10-18)

Darkness

It is not by accident that the Scriptures use the word “darkness” as a metaphor for sin and evil. Just as darkness will dominate unless overcome by light, be it a simple candle or a mag lite; so evil naturally dominates humankind except where God restrains it by his love. God is under no obligation to restrain our corruption. We brought that on ourselves. So that he does at all is an act of love or grace.

The Scriptures reveal two dimensions of God’s grace: common and special grace. Common grace is God’s initiative to restrain our natural self-destructive ways and to provide for all regardless of whether we believe and obey him or not. The atheist is the beneficiary of God’s common grace as well as the devout believer. In the context of teaching his disciples to love their enemies, Jesus showed how God does that. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. (Matthew 5:43)

I realize that this is a huge stretch for folks who are used to thinking that they are pretty respectable. But any honest assessment of humankind and of our own hearts would have to conclude we’re pretty messed up.

Now back to David’s discipline. Nathan tells David that because of his sin God will pull back his protection over him such that he and his family will suffer horrible things. It is mankind in general and David in particular that are to blame for the disgusting events that follow. They grieve God far more than they upset any of us. But that’s another hub.

How does God do evil?

Now back to David’s discipline. Nathan told David that horrible things would occur to his descendents. Lest David or we think that those horrible events were just happinstance, the prophet quotes God, "Behold I will raise up evil against you."

Cynics jump all over the Almighty with their "gotchas." "How can a good God do evil?" "The God of the Bible claims to love but takes pleasure in human suffering!" But God, who was under no obligation to restrain man's natural malice, cannot be faulted for drawing back that restraint. It's my prerogative to freely give a passing beggar a ten dollar bill; but having done so, I'm under no obligation to do the same for the next beggar that accosts me.

So now God will discipline David by pulling back his restraining power. Absent God's influence it won't be long before David's sons unsheathe their swords against each other. Who's to blame for the killings and the rapes? They are, not God.

And God weeps

The cynic's caricature is that God finds pleasure in allowing human beings to self-destruct. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jesus wept over the wickedness of Jerusalem and its consequences. So why doesn't the Almighty just push one of his god-buttons and make evil disappear once and for all? He could. But then he would have turned every one of us into mere puppets devoid of self-awareness, love and hope. God would have destroyed humankind.

Instead He devised a way to win human beings back into fellowship with Him. Through Christ, our soul's infrastracture is rebuilt so that instead of defaulting toward evil, we gravitate to what is good and honorable. Such is the power of Christ in the hearts of those who trust him. One day "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." (Habakkuk 2:14) Then evil will be no more.

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Comments: I'm listening 27 comments

liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 4 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

SparrowMinistries, thanks for stopping by and for your encouraging comment. This despite that in my editing I'd failed to delete some material that was in the previous capsule.


SparrowMinistries 4 years ago

Hello Liftsandsoar,

I must say I am impressed with the depth of careful thought that went into this piece. There are many ways that people frame things to make those difficult scriptures add up in their human minds. But God is God and we are on Earth. Can the thing formed say to the One who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?"


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 5 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

Thanks and welcome to HubPages. I'm still learning the ropes myself.


leftanimpression profile image

leftanimpression 5 years ago

Love the post and love your writing. That's a great way of looking at things. I came upon the revelation the other day that when we sin and continue in our sin without great punishment or being caught, we think God is giving us grace, when really he is showing his justice. The worst that can happen to us is if God leaves us to our sin and lets us continue in it. It is self-destructive on it's own..


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 5 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

Thanks, writerjay. I'm trying to model what I'm encouraging other Christian hubbers to do. Plan a hub addressed to my fellow Christians on the matter.


writerjay profile image

writerjay 5 years ago from Bellingham, WA

I had to read this because of the title. Thank you for teaching, and being so very respectful to your readers.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

Hello LiftandSoar :)

Thank you for continuing to respond :)

You say:

"What I mean by "assumption" is something like one's hypthesis in scientific investigation. That's where one starts. The assumption/hypothesis is either confirmed or rendered unreliable by subsequent investigation."

I suppose that I started with this assumption, too.

But my conclusions differ from yours.

I'll continue this my train of thought on your new hub.

I accept evolutionary theory ~ indeed I have written a few hubs on the subject ~ including how and why the Biblical creation story does not satisfy me and why I think that Darwin was right.

It is possible to be a Christian, and to believe in evolution. I have written about this, too.

I shall read your new hub now :)


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 5 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

Trish, more response to your latest. You quote me as follows:You even said something, yourself, which is along these lines. You wrote: "I start with the assumption that God is good and wise and powerful and choose to believe these painful events have a reason which has not been revealed ...." Thus, you have faith in the goodness of God, regardless of the supposed 'facts', given in certain Biblical stories, which describe God in unpleasant terms.

What I mean by "assumption" is something like one's hypthesis in scientific investigation. That's where one starts. The assumption/hypothesis is either confirmed or rendered unreliable by subsequent investigation. This gets to one of the silly fights Christians get into over presuppostionalism or evidentialism. It's not one or the other. It's both. The Scriptures teach that the natural man does not understand the things of God (presuppostionalism); but were also to rest on sound evidence as in "if Christ is not risen, our faith is in vain (evidentialism).

I suspect that anything ending in "ism" is questionable. I understand that your position is a bit nuanced in that while you are certianly put off by the Bible, you are agnostic regarding God. I believe God reveals himself in at least two other ways. One is through what He has created. You've already indicated a great appreciation for nature. It's hard for me to accept that all this simply evolved. Similarities in various organisms need not indicate that one comes from another. It could be that all were created by the same master craftsman.

The other way God reveals himself is in the lives of his people. I know that that is a mixed bag, 'cause there are lots of Christians who fail to reflect Christ in their lives. By reflecting Christ, I don't mean that we have to be perfect, but that we must, with integrity, admit our sin and bring it to Christ for forgiveness. In Christ, God not only forgives but empowers us to make significant progress toward overcoming the sin, though never, in this life, will we achieve absolute sinlessness.

I've spend some time in Britain and have noticed the same as you mention - that you folks are less inclined to speak openly of your faith. That may be true, but when you do, you often go deeper that the average American. (I know, a huge generalization).

Thanks for sticking with me.


James Barakaat 5 years ago

I have studied religions for many years and have called myself Jew, Christian, and Muslim. I choose to be all that is good and righteous.

I have accepted that it is self-evident that I cannot turn off the energy that causes me to think. I can choose thoughts to give attention to and to dwell on. I cannot think nothing. I accept that this is the case with most people since I have found no one to say otherwise.

Therefore, I conclude that there is the self-evidence of some presence within each being that must always be expressing through us whether we choose to or not. I accept the intelligence of this energy and I accept that intelligence responds to intelligence. When we give attention to this intelligence it responds accordingly. This intelligence doesn't care what it is called although I believe some will call it God.

I read what is written about God in religions and conclude that it is merely man's attempt to explain what is unexplainable. The writings are for the times and the locations of the people. Many things are said about the God that people are encouraged to believe in but belief is not enough.

Most religions say that God is all-knowing, all-presence, and all-power. I have read in the Bible that the kingdom of God is within you. I accept that the energy that I spoke of is that presence within all of us, knowing how to use it's power through each individual. I call the energy Divine Presence. We don't have to allow a religion to tell us about God when we have faith in what is within us that created us. I accept that we are meant to be knowers and can know as much as we are ready to know!

When we give attention to the self-evident Divine Presence within, we move away from the teachings that rely on beliefs and come to know and know that we know. I have members of my family who are devout Christian and Muslim. The are beautiful, righteous people who don't see things the way I do. I accept that any who have a need to believe in a religion should believe although that which created us all does not care. Whatever it takes to be a righteous person is good for the whole planet.

Evidence indicates that man has used religions to manipulate people and I conclude that they will write that God told them to do some things that were not righteous. That is why some who have been involved with religions begin to call themselves atheists or agnostics. They reject or are not sure of the God taught in the religions they were exposed to until they contemplate the Divine Presence.


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 5 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

Goodmorning Trish (except it's evening across the pond).

Regarding: "We may find comfort in our own constructs for a time, but in the end they prove self-destructive." Ecclesiastes puts it best when the peacher concludes that everything "under the sun" is vain. In other words, what is purely of human origin will eventually disappoint and bring destruction. As a Christian I don't believe the universe is closed system, but rather that there is a Creator that stands outside the system speaking and acting into it. To ignore Him to chart a course toward our own destruction.

I'm about to post a new Hub in which I quote you extensively and I hope fairly. I doubt that you will agree with much of it, but it will help you understand where I'm coming from. Which is, I believe, historic Christianity.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

Hi LiftandSoar :)

You have now got me thinking about why I might suggest separating 'fact from faith' ~ and I suppose that when one is agnostic, it just goes with the territory. (I cannot speak for Martie, of course, but I am guessing that many agnostics think this way.)

Christian ideas are based in the Bible and I am not at all sure how much of the Bible is factual. I can't say that I believe in any of the 'supernatural' bits. Thus, I see belief based in faith, rather than in fact.

And I think that many Christians have 'faith' regardless of fact. Some, who have said: 'I have faith', have little or no idea what is even written in the Bible.

So, I separate faith from fact ~ and so do many Christians. (The definition of 'fact' also comes into play, here.)

You even said something, yourself, which is along these lines. You wrote: "I start with the assumption that God is good and wise and powerful and choose to believe these painful events have a reason which has not been revealed ...." Thus, you have faith in the goodness of God, regardless of the supposed 'facts', given in certain Biblical stories, which describe God in unpleasant terms.

I am not suggesting that his supposed bad behaviour is factual, because I think that it is simply how this ancient tribe perceived things. However, anyone who believes in the literal truth of the Bible must assume that it is, indeed, factual. They have faith in a 'good' God regardless of very, very 'bad' behaviour.

I agree that faith, which does not rely on fact, could be defined as 'superstition'. However, I also think that there are all sorts of mysterious things going on in the world, which we do not understand, and which may be experienced by people who would not, ordinarily, be considered superstitious. Indeed, such things have happened to me. This is why I am agnostic and not atheist ~ because I believe in possibilities and because not everything has been explained to my satisfaction.

So God may or may not exist.

I suppose that I choose to think that he could not possibly be as described in the Scriptures.

If he were, then I think that the only reason for following and worshipping him would be out of fear.

Except out of fear ~ and then with great regret ~ I could not possibly choose to follow someone, who, in today's climate, would be considered guilty of multiple murders ~ including of children ~ horrific assaults, torture and 'war crimes'.

LiftandSoar, you come across as a kindly, positive, pleasant and intelligent person, so, no, I do not think that you would be hostile to those who did not share your beliefs and opinions. Your willingness to discuss this matter makes that clear, I think. But many, sadly, do, indeed, become hostile ~ even to other Christians (as you noted in your other hub).

May I ask what you mean by your following comment, please?

"We may find comfort in our own constructs for a time, but in the end they prove self-destructive."

Since discussing religious matters, online, and in person, I have discovered a noticeable difference between American and British attitudes. Obviously, this is a huge generalisation and there are, most certainly, many differences within the groups, as well. However, just as a general tendency, I see Americans being much more vocal and open about their Christian beliefs. In the UK, it is possible to be quite close to people, for a long time, and still not really know whether they are Christians or Atheists.

That may seem hard to believe, but it is true ~ as far as my experiences go, anyway. (I even asked my own husband and children what they actually believed, recently, because, though I knew that they were not devout believers, I wasn't sure, exactly, where they stood on the scale from belief to disbelief). I certainly don't know about all of my friends ~ and some do surprise me at times. Yet, I met an American lady, recently, and I knew all about her beliefs, her church and her pastor within 30 minutes of meeting her ~ and others have told me that this is quite the norm. And do you remember Tony Blair saying that he wouldn't dare discuss his Christian beliefs, as President Bush did ~ it simply wouldn't go down well, here.

So I think that Martie's suggestion that faith and belief are private matters, which belong close to the heart, do fit with my own ~ and with that of my culture, perhaps ~ so people can believe what they wish ~ and rightly so. However, issues such as the deaths of the Amalekite babies and the rapes of David's wives still deserve to be discussed. Christians still need to have their eyes opened to these 'troubling scriptures'.


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 5 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

Trish and Marti: First, thanks Marti for your kind and encouraging words. I have the utmost respect for you both, not because I agree with you but because despite our differences we have so much in common. It's part of our fallen condition (sorry Trish) that we tend to focus on the differences as though there were nothing in common.

Having said that, I find it interesting that both of you, for different reasons, want to separate fact from faith. I think the motive is to allow each of us a right to hold our own positions without threatening the other. I believe that a faith that doesn't rest on fact/truth/history is nothing more than superstition. We may find comfort in our own constructs for a time, but in the end they prove self-destructive.

Do you believe that if I hold fast to the historical facts of the Chrstian faith, I would necessarily become hostile to all other faiths and to those who hold these? That need not be the case at all. Jesus taught that we're to love all others, even our enemies. Love means I respect, I listen to, I desire the best for others.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

Hi to LiftandSoar and to Martie ~ and to any other readers :) :)

Yes, perhaps Martie is right and there is no point in mixing 'faith with facts'.

The problem is that the two are, indeed, mixed, all of the time ~ not just in intellectual debates.

I admit to enjoying this type of discussion, because it exercises the brain, and gets us really considering what we think and believe ~ and why.

My mother is Christian; my father was agnostic. My views are similar to his.

When I was a child I was a believer, but I began to doubt more and more, despite going to church three times per week, in addition to daily Christian services at school, plus scripture lessons. (That was the norm in UK schools, at the time.)

My opinions have developed from reading, discussing, thinking, etc. and I feel that others need to give greater consideration to their beliefs, too.

I have no problem with anyone believing anything, within reason, as long as it hurts no-one, but comments made by Christians can be most unpleasant.

When I was about 12, because I asked questions at Sunday School, I was told that St Peter will turn me away from Heaven's pearly gates, and send me to hell. That is unacceptable. My parents were described as a heathen and an idolatress. Again ~ unacceptable.

I felt overwhelmed, as a youngster, by the weight of 'original sin' that was piled upon my shoulders. That was a terrible thing to do to a child.

Roman Catholicism; various denominational Sunday School teachers, Christian friends and contacts, teachers, etc, etc. All apparently knowing who God is, what God wants, how God thinks. All convinced that they will be somewhere near the right hand of God / Jesus in Heaven; all convinced that I, and others like me, will burn in hell. I am still told that my kids will go to hell, and that it is my fault.

I am only explaining this to make my stance clearer; not to suggest that I might have retained my beliefs, if my Christian friends had been nicer. I know many lovely Christians ~ including my family and friends. I just find the Bible unbelievable as anything other than a text of immense interest to historians.

I just think that it is very wrong for Christian 'missionaries' ~ self-styled or official ~ to make sweeping and important statements, which can have serious effects on people's lives, based upon an ancient book, which contains descriptions of 'God' commiting some very cruel 'sins' and causing enormous grief and suffering.

So, I agree with Martie that belief belongs somewhere private, inside the person. They should be free to believe or not. But they need to know exactly what it is that they believe ~ what is included in the package, as it were. And if they are going to discuss, or preach, or condemn, or interact with others on the subject, then they must know about these very 'troubling scriptures' and not keep talking of everyone else's sin, when the God they worship, and call 'loving father', has deliberately slaughtered suckling babies (according to the Bible).


MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 5 years ago from South Africa

The reason why I did not comment on this hub – until now – was because I’ve learnt not to justify faith with facts. If one study history and mythology they will not find a single reason to have faith in anything. Not even in facts, because what had been ‘proved’ as facts, was later proved as lies. (To mention only two: The earth standing on pillars and the death of ‘all’ people on earth because of the Great Flood in the time of Noah.)

To believe in God, and in order to enjoy a satisfactory relationship with Him and Christ, one must think like a child. As the Bible clearly stresses, no one who is not like a child will inherit the Kingdom of God. Since I am no longer a Christian – I was a devoted one for 35 years before I became agnostic – I believe that this ‘Kingdom’ is an emotional state. I was there, and because I was there I was able to bear a lot of adversity in my life. In fact, I allowed others – and Life - for many years to make me extremely unhappy. I was a martyr.

Because I know how wonderful a close relationship with God is, and how Bible scriptures can be better than the best tranquilizers, I will never try to bereave a Christian, or any believer, from his faith. Faith is precious.

In order for Christians to enjoy the peace and love of God, they SHOULD NOT try to explain and justify their faith. They should avoid discussions with historians, scientists and any academic-orientated people. They really should be ‘children’ in the house of their Father, trusting Him with their whole hearts.

I must compliment you, liftandsoar, for discussing this very precious and intimidate issue in such a dignified way. It is normal for Christians to feel threatened when others disagree with them. They instinctively defend themselves and their precious faith, either with anger or sadness (behind their actions). Trish, your respect for your fellowman is clearly noticeable and admirable.

To conclude: When I die, they will find my organs and all that was flesh in my body, but they will not find ME, the intellectual and emotional being I am and might not continue to be once I return to dust.... and so we will never find God in this universe.

But who said we will not meet Him in person once we are dust again? Unfortunately – and this is what I’ve learnt - the time we have to enjoy this magnificent creation, to live and appreciate this wonderful life and all that it embraces, is much too short to mull over POWER we cannot understand and/or control.


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 5 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

Not offended, Trish. It's not about me.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

Hello :)

Yes, I'm having a rest, after a long drive yesterday :)

Anyway ...

It was Jesus who said that the apostles should be armed with swords, in the first place (I've written a hub on swords in the NT), so he might have expected them to be used, I think.

I don't think that we can really say who was right or wrong about Messianic expectations.

People assume that 'Isaiah' was all about Jesus ~ but maybe it wasn't?

Since the gospels were written later than the time of Jesus, and since they were created as 'good news' propaganda rather than as history, they are biased and unreliable.

Preachers were telling this 'good news' to the poor and weak ~ those with no political clout ~ so it would have enormous appeal. If you recall the 'Heaven's Gate' fiasco, you can see that people will believe anything, if the preacher is persuasive enough.

After all, plenty of people will kill, or die, for other religions ~ not just Christianity. Devout followers do not prove that a religion, or its beliefs, are correct.

Also, just because the resurrection story was, and is, well known does not have to make it true. Stories of King Arthur and Robin Hood are very well known, too. But they are, at most, based in truth, they are not historically factual.

I hope that you are not offended, in any way, by any of my opinions on this subject :)


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 5 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

We must both be sitting at our computers with time on our hands. Actually, I've hit a quiet time in the day when both granddaughters are entertaining themselves and no chores crying out to be tended to.

Re Jesus, if he didn't rise from the dead you, nor anyone has any reason to regard him as God incarnate.

Let me think about your supposed scenario a bit more.

Most Jew in Jesus' day had woefully misunderstood the messianic prophecies of the OT. They expected an external powerful political king who would overthrow the Roman. The OT teaches that before Jesus would show himself as king he would come as a suffering Messiah. Isaiah 56.

Yes, Peter wacked an ear off, but Jesus did not endorse that and immediately healed the earless man.

Mark indeed is the earliers gospel and the resurrection is mentioned in chapter 16 before it gets to the section that is in question. But even if it were not mentioned it would be inconsequential. The resurrection of Christ was so well known and accepted in the late first century, that little effort was made to defend it or proove it.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

Hi again :)

I have read some interesting theories about Jesus, and I'm not too sure where I stand on the subject, except to say that I highly doubt that he was God incarnate, or Son of God. There is no proof that he even existed, but I think that he possibly did, because of the nature of some of the stories about him.

The commandment that Jesus supposedly gave was 'love one another'. This does not fit with tearing babies apart with the blade of a sword.

1. His 'timid band' was not so timid. They carried swords and at least one was named 'Zealot'.

2. Just because Jesus was not in the tomb, does not mean that he had 'risen'. Maybe he wasn't dead in the first place. Maybe his followers moved him. Didn't I read that the earliest gospel does not even mention 'the resurrection'?

3. A Jewish person I conversed with, whose brother is a Rabbi, told me that Jesus did not fulfill the Jews' expectations of a Messiah.

Because of your faith, you believe that, no matter how horrible certain Biblical events seem to be, God must have had his reasons.

Let me make a suggestion, though.

Imagine that God is watching and listening ~ as I am guessing you already do ~ and he is asking himself why you believe such horrible ancient tales about him. He cannot understand why you worship him and describe him as loving, yet you believe that he would have babies slaughtered and women raped.

Isn't this scenario a possible one?

Does the Bible have to be right about God?


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 5 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

Well, you've just hit on the crux of the matter, Trish: the resurrection of Jesus. I admire your consistency. Would that all who deny the resurrection would eschew calling themselves Christians. Even Paul, wrote, "if Christ is not risen, our faith is in vain." I Cor.15:12-19. So if it were ever proved that Jesus had not risen from the grave, I hope that I would have the guts to deny the Christian faith. Your views on the matters we've discussed are the consistent thought process of a person who is intelligent and sensitive to the world around her. You are free to formulate your convictions as you please. And I respect that.

On the other hand, since I do believe that Christ is alive today, engaged in our world, and returning some day, consistency requires that I regard him has my God and savior. So why do I believe the Jesus conquired death, demonstrating once for all his divinity? There are plenty of books written on this subject and I suspect you'e already read some of them. My own reasons are...

1. A timid band of Jesus' friends huddling in an upstairs room became overnight a courageous army of promoters of Christ. Most willingly accepted their own death on behalf of their master. Many millions of other Christians have joined their ranks down through the years. There's no other satisfactory explanation for this change than that they were utterly persuaded that Jesus is alive.

2. Further, if in fact Jesus were still in the grave. His enemies could have easily found and produced the body, making this band of friends the laughing stock of the world. Christianity would have gone the way of so many other personality cults.

3. Christ's resurrection is consistent with expectations raised by OT teaching on the coming Messiah.

With regard to specific answers to why God ordained the horrible events that offend you and many others, I'm loath to offer any answer where the Scriptures are silent. That people were saved from future suffering by meeting an early death is speculative and assumes we know matters God has kept to himself. So instead of using these to call God's character into question; I start with the assumption that God is good and wise and powerful and choose to believe these painful events have a reason which has not been revealed and may never.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

Hi liftandsoar :)

Yes, I enjoy making new 'cyber friends' ~ whether or not I agree with them. I enjoy interesting and stimulating discussions. They broaden the mind :)

Actually, I don't think that 'Christ's crucifiction and resurrection' are really 'verifiable using common research procedures'.

I used to be friendly with our vicar, and we would discuss these issues. He was convinced that the Resurrection had been proved ~ but I don't think that it has, at all. As a historian, I don't feel that there is anywhere near enough reliable evidence ~ and certainly no proof.

Thus, I can find nothing, in either the New or the Old Testament, that suggests that I should look at the slaying of babies as anything but barbarity. And I find nothing to suggest that it had to be the work of God.

Ruffridyer gives the same 'reason' that other Christians have given to me, regarding the slaughter of the Amalekites, including their babies: 'It was actually an act of mercy on God's part.'

Killing babies, toddlers, pregnant women, nursing mothers ~ by the edge of the sword ~ was merciful!!?? I'm not too keen on that kind of 'mercy' I'm afraid. That definition of 'mercy' is not in my dictionary.

By the way, if anyone wants to know any more of my thoughts on this topic, then they can just look at my hub on the subject.


ruffridyer 5 years ago from Dayton, ohio

A very insteresting hub with with much food for thought. In my faith, Mormon, we are taught that all people lived with God as spirit children before being born on earth. When children die they are saved in the Kingdom of God by the grace of God and through the atonement of his Son.

When whole nations were to be destroyed, including the suckling babies it was because those nations were so currurpt they were ripe for destruction. Their children, if allowed to be raised in their homes would have grown to be as evil as their parents.

It was actually an act of mercy on God's part.


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 5 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

From one unfathomable to another. Trish, it feels like we've been friends for a while now. Yes, I guess it does seem unfathomable to me that anyone does not recognize the presence and activity of a loving almighty God. I heard what you wrote regarding his causing suffering. While certainly these are hard questions, I look at them through the prism of Christ's crucifiction and resurrection, events certainly verifiable using common research proceedures. I also see that without such a prism the events that offend you can never be accepted. So I appreciate your frustration with the likes of me. Am working on another hub addressing the loving God butchering children thing


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

Hi Liftandsoar :)

It strikes me that you find my stance somewhat unfathomable ~ especially as I speak of things that seem to reflect a loving creator; yet I doubt his existence. More specifically, I cannot equate this loving creator with God, as described in the Bible.

But I find your stance somewhat unfathomable, too. You believe in a 'personal creator God', who supposedly loves us, but who is willing to make any of us suffer apparently on a whim.

There are many many Biblical examples; everyone except Noah and co at the flood; David's wives and baby; the people of Amalek - including, specifically, the suckling babies; the man who gathered wood on the Sabbath; cheeky sons; daughters who cannot actually prove that they are virgins when they marry; the list goes on!

Plus of course, all the doubters and followers of other faiths who will go to hell.

You have not addressed these issues in your reply.

You say 'There is so much of life that we accept on the basis of reasonableness, rather than scientific proof', but where is the reasonableness in believing that a super-being, who is omni-everything, would want to keep making his creation suffer ~ sometimes for absolutely no reason at all. For example, why would God, supposedly, chat with Satan, and allow him to torment poor Job in such a horrific manner?! That isn't reasonable.

Is there a loving creator, somewhere on an unknown plane we call Heaven? ~ Maybe, but I do not know. Is he 'God', as described in the Bible? ~ I doubt it. There is no reason why the God of one ancient tribe should be the real one ~ especially when we consider all of the cruelty attributed to him.

Why do you believe this?

I can understand why you believe in the loving creator father God ~ but why do you believe these horrible, cruel, ancient descriptions of him?


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 5 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

"Quote: "I'm sure that you are an intelligent, thoughtful, sensitive and loving mother. How do you explain that?"

Yes, I think and hope that I am ~ but I have read and re-read your question and I do not understand it. How do I explain it? ~ I love my children and hope to do my best by them. I don't always succeed, but I try my best. My parents love me, so I have their example to follow."

You have so much to respond to and you put it very thoughtfully. What I mean above, your ability to love, to be excited by the beauty of nature, to appreciate the miracle of childbirth, all gives evidence of a dimension of life not shared by other animals. It seems to me that the more you demonstrate your ability to reason and to make judgments and to love, the more you, and all of us, point to a personal creator God. I don't say that these things prove his existance in the sense of scientific proof, but they do make it reasonable to believe that there is a personal God who created and sustain us.

There is so much of life that we accept on the basis of reasonableness, rather than scientific proof. We marry a partner believing that the relationship will be satisfying and permanent, but we don't know for sure. We go on journeys expecting accomodations that are suitable, based on recommendations, but we don't know for sure. If we demanded of other things the scientific certainty that seems to be demanded for the existance of God, we could not live long. I do not prove the existance of God, however, that he exists is to me more reasonable to believe than that he doesn't.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

Hi Liftandsoar:)

Not quite!

I am comfortable with the fact that there may be mysteries, but that none of us know the explanations for them. I would be 'comfortable with an impersonal and mechanical universe', though.

Our universe is absolutely beautiful, fantastic and amazing. I am blown away by some documentaries on the subject. Whether it is 'an impersonal and mechanical universe' or God-created, it is equally impressive! I am as spritually lifted by our miraculous universe as you must be.

New life is also a miracle. New babies ~ absolutely unbelievable!

Quote: "I'm sure that you are an intelligent, thoughtful, sensitive and loving mother. How do you explain that?"

Yes, I think and hope that I am ~ but I have read and re-read your question and I do not understand it. How do I explain it? ~ I love my children and hope to do my best by them. I don't always succeed, but I try my best. My parents love me, so I have their example to follow.

As an agnostic, I do not dismiss the possibility that God exists. All I am really saying is that, if he does exist, then I do not think that 'he' is as described in the Bible.

I think this for various reasons, including:

~ There are lots of ancient folk tales, about various Gods. We don't believe them all, so why should this one be right?

~ They describe God as our Creator; then describe him as a cruel and vengeful parent. Maybe it made sense in their society, but it doesn't in mine.

Quote: He "enjoys a relationship with those who will love and trust Him"

So he enjoys a loving relationship with those who believe that he murdered babies?

And what about the rest of us?

~Those who think and question, and use our God-given brains, to conclude that a supposedly loving Father-God would not have his children murdered, raped, enslaved, tortured, etc?

We go to hell! We suffer horrific lonely pain and damnation, as we rot, or burn, in eternal hellfire!

That's nice!

As 'an intelligent, thoughtful, sensitive and loving mother', I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy; never mind my own children ~ even if they disagreed with me and had nothing to do with me.

But children, whose parents show that they love them, by ~ for example ~ never threatening to abandon, burn, kill, or torture them usually do not turn away from their obviously loving caring parents.

Naturally, children will often run away from jealous, cruel, demanding and overbearing parents, who appear to hate them, rather than love them, if they disagree with them, or disobey them, in any way.

There may be a force behind the Universe. There may be an ultimate creator. That creator may be a positive loving force, which could be termed 'God'.

Or there may not be.

Certainly, I accept that there are still many mysteries, which we do not understand.

The Bible may explain the way that the Israelites interpreted these, and other, 'mysteries', and how they ~ rightly or wrongly ~ attributed various happenings the force that they acknowledged as their 'God'.

Just because the Bible is an interpretation of 'God', and life's mysteries, does not mean that it is a correct interpretation.

I have written a number of hubs, based on this subject, and I have linked your hubs to them. This will give readers alternative viewpoints. I hope that this is ok? :)


liftandsoar profile image

liftandsoar 5 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

It appears that you are comfortable with an impersonal and mechanical universe. Yet, I'm sure that you are an intelligent, thoughtful, sensitive and loving mother. How do you explain that? To me it takes more credulity to hold your position than to ascribe to God, that He has created us in his own image and actually enjoys a relationship with those who will love and trust Him.


Trish_M profile image

Trish_M 5 years ago from The English Midlands

Hello again, Liftandsoar :)

Yes, I do find some of the behaviour, attributed to God, really disgusting.

And I agree that humans often bring bad things on themselves a a result of their own bad behaviour.

I would go as far as to say that I do not blame God for the evils attributed to him, and that I actually do blame humanity ~ or, at least, certain members thereof.

Where we differ is that I don't think that any of this behaviour was in any way connected to God. The Bible says that it was ~ but this does not make it so.

If David's ilegitimate son died, and his 'harem' of wives were raped, then he and his advisers probably thought that this was divine retribution for his adultery. But, just because they thought that 'God did it', does not mean that God was actually responsible. It was simply how things were perceived.

The same thing still happens today. People blame or thank 'God' for things that may not be related to him at all.

This still applies, whether or not God exists.

My problem with all of this is the fact that Christians actuially believe that God did these horrific and disgusting things ~ and they find it acceptable. They excuse behaviour that would disgust them, if any earthly ruler were guilty of it.

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