I honestly believe that the people who argue against the moral character of God in the OT and who push forth the problem of evil to try and show the contradiction between an all-loving God and the existence of evil, are not really expressing their sincere and honest reasons for not believing.
If they discern between the New Testament and Old Testament God as loving and abhorrent, I think if they changed their formula to loving and loving they still wouldn’t change their minds.
The Problem of Evil in this case is a straw man. There is a clear distinction to be made. The Problem of Evil and the Problem of Suffering point to contemporary events and examples in our world; one would point to cancer in children for instance. When singling out the atrocities in the Bible, one isn’t pointing to events that exist independently of god; one is pointing to events that were commanded and/or perpetrated by god. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems that one has to assume his existence in order to blame contemporary suffering and evil on him; there’s no issue in doing so because we’re debating with people who believe he exists. Yet that isn’t what an atheist does when pointing to the Amalekite genocide for example (1 Samuel 15:3). What we’re really saying is: if you want to believe that this god exists, you must reconcile the notion of a perfectly good god with a god who commanded ethnic cleansing — even the death of infants! Let’s look at what I call The Problem of Child Murder and Infanticide in modal form:
P1 Any being that commanded the murder of children is not perfectly good.
P2 Any being that promised to murder innocent children is not perfectly good.
P3 Any being that carries out a promise to murderer innocent children is not perfectly good.
P4 Yahweh commanded the murder of children, promised to murder children and carried out promises to murder children.
C Therefore, Yahweh is not perfectly good.
Proof of that can be found in but isn’t limited to the following verses:
- Genesis 7 (Note: it is safe to assume that there were children in this mythological world that was flooded by your god)
- Exodus 12:29,30
- Leviticus 26:21,22
- Deuteronomy 21:18-21
- 1 Samuel 15:3
- 2 Kings 2:23,24
- Isaiah 13:15,16
- Isaiah 14:21
- Ezekiel 9:5,6
- Daniel 6:24
- Hosea 9:11-16
- Hosea 13:16
Thus, the argument can be continued to refute the Moral Argument for God:
P6 A being that isn’t perfectly good cannot be an absolute lawgiver.
P7 Yahweh isn’t perfectly good.
C Therefore, Yahweh is not an absolute lawgiver.
This is an argument that is completely straw manned each and every time. As one can see, my argument is not the Problem of Evil or the Problem of Suffering — both of which rely on contemporary events. The OT is comprised of mythological events in my opinion; however, if anyone dares to believe in a celestial ethnic cleanser and child murderer, the burden is on them to absolve him of his crimes — so much so that it is beyond reasonable doubt. That implies that your explanation has to be good enough for an atheist to accept it. It is something that you or any Christian cannot do.
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