Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Don’t Make God Angry; You Won’t Like Him When He’s Angry

For all of the love that is supposed to encompass God, and that God himself is supposed to encompass, there sure is no shortage of meanness, anger, malfeasance, and ill-temper on the part of the Omnipotent, Almighty God. This being the case I really think there are some personality traits of God that should be given more than just a cursory glance.

Allow me to offer what I think makes a person a good person. An individual who is helpful, kind, caring, loving, compassionate, just, even-tempered, fair, diplomatic, considerate, thoughtful, forgiving, understanding, sharing…the list could go on forever, right? Of course each of those particular strengths would vary in intensity within the ‘good’ individual.

Think of some of the good people you have heard about or studied about, good people within the annals of history. Who are some of the people that come to mind? Mother Teresa gave her entire life to helping the less fortunate and the destitute. Harriet Tubman, in the goodness of her character helped many individuals flee the tyranny of slavery. Abraham Lincoln helped to end slavery in the United States; some would assert that doing so cost him his life. Dr. Martin Luther King, President John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy were good men who pushed hard for the Civil Rights movement; all three of these men are dead, murdered by the bullets of assassins who were, bottom line here, threatened by the goodness that these three men had no trouble or fear exhibiting. John Adams, George Washington, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Jay and more of the Founding Fathers of the United States name just a few good men who recognized the injustice the thirteen colonies suffered at the hands of the English monarchy, and in their goodness as men did what they could to correct the situation, to make it right.

The point I am trying to make is not that a lot of good people have died in the process of exercising their goodness, that there are those who would react poorly to the exercise of goodness, or that exercising goodness carries with it an obvious element of danger. My point is that there certain elements of character that are consistent with individuals who are by all means considered good people when we examine them. Some of these common characteristics include a desire for justice, a persistence to see-through positive change, care for one’s fellow human being, and sometimes even the strength to do or say what other people are afraid to do or say. Good people protect others. Good people to not persecute or maim, harass, demean, murder, subject others to cruelty, or draw lines of separation as to whom they believe is more or less deserving of what is good. When people do such things, face it. They are not looked upon as good people.

It is at this junction that there are some severe problems when it comes to labeling God as good. Let us take a closer look.

So, God creates the universe and everything in it to include man, and God also states that He saw that it was good, right? What the hell happened to all the goodness from the time Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden, to the time they were ordered to leave? They ate of the wrong tree and in doing so ruined it all. What I am wondering is how a God that is supposed to be inherently good, and that apparently sees all this goodness, how can He act in a manner that is contrary to His purported goodness? How can He initiate behavior that puts the balance of goodness in imminent danger? A being that is truly good will most certainly not act in a manner that destroys goodness, because if they do so they are in effect destroying themselves. God created all of these beautiful things and all of the goodness…and then screws everything up by purposely adding an element detrimental to goodness.

Many Christians will inform you that the reason God put the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the garden because He created man with a free will, and so man needed to use his freewill properly and stay away from the bad tree in order to hold onto all the goodness. This is stupid and makes no goddamn sense whatsoever. A perfect God cannot create imperfect or defective products, and this includes the will of man. A being that has been created with a will, a being created by a perfect being, must out of necessity also have a perfect will. A perfect God cannot create a man with an imperfect will; that is counter productive no matter how you look at it. It would then follow that it really would not have mattered how many bad trees God could have put in the garden with Adam and Eve, because with their perfect wills (created by God no less) they would always make perfect decisions and therefore always stay away from the bad tree.

An individual who is a good person, and who recognizes an issue or situation that is dangerous or wrong or lethal to others, will do everything they can to improve the situation so as to better remove the element that is dangerous to others. Say you work at a department store and happen to see employees stealing items. Then, perhaps, you hear them talking about how they are planning to rob the store in the wee hours of the morning, ransack the store from top to bottom, and flee the state. Are you simply going to sit around and allow for such injustice to take its course? Hell no! You go and inform store managers and company authorities so that the event may be avoided. It is the right thing to do, right? Well, God seems to have great trouble doing the right thing.

In the book of Genesis, there is a story about Cain and Abel offering sacrifices to God. Abel sacrifices a lamb, and Cain sacrifices vegetables and crop items. God likes Abel’s offering but not Cain’s. Cain is butt-hurt and ends up killing his brother. If God is omnipotent then he knew that Cain would kill Abel…and He did nothing to stop it. God knew that King David would kill the soldier Uriah so David could take Uriah’s wife…and He did nothing to stop it. God knew that John the Baptist would be beheaded…and did nothing to stop it. God knew that King Herod would kill all the little baby boys in an effort to destroy the new King that had been born…and He did nothing to stop it. God knew Judas would betray Jesus…and He did nothing to stop it. God knew that Lot’s daughters would purposely get their father drunk so that they could have sex with him in order to produce an heir…and He did nothing to stop it. And I do not for one iota of a minute believe what many religious folks say about this, that, “It is part of God’s plan. It is what he had planned for man because of man’s fallen nature.” What a crock. A being that is inherently good will do everything possible to prevent bad, hurtful, harmful crap from happening. A good being will take the time to show how something ought to be done right from the start. In addition, for all the people who were immersed in religion, Christianity in particular, who always told me that God is perfect and that the way God created everything in the universe it would be impossible for a human being to NOT know there is a divine creator, do these same people really think that a God who is supposed to be so very precise down to the least molecule leave anything to chance, even if that chance is the imperfect will of man? It does not compute, does it?

The situation with the Children of Israel fleeing the land of Egypt in the book of Exodus offers more proof as to the lack of God’s goodness. How does God’s behavior in that situation qualify as good? Not only does God purposely harden pharaoh’s heart repeatedly in order that the Egyptian people be given even more heaping helpings of plagues, but in Exodus 12:35-36 it states that the Children of Israel spoiled the Egyptians, taking their silver, jewels, gold, and raiment. A good being does not instruct His followers to take what is most certainly not theirs. What is interesting is depending on what translation you use, the word used may be that the Children of Israel ‘borrowed’ these items from the Egyptians. I am not kidding. Last time I checked, taking something from someone with the express intent to NEVER return it to their possession is most certainly not borrowing. To my understanding, at least in modern terms, it is called larceny. Actually, considering that it could be argued that the Egyptians gave the items over to the Israelites under the fear or further threat of death (considering that all of the first-born had just died, how would they have known if the second and third born would not suffer the same fate if they refused to hand over their precious items?) it would be robbery.

A good being does not under any circumstances purposely allow the people around them to suffer. That is just plain sadistic. Yet, in the Bible there are some instances where God behaves in an outfight creepy and cruel manner. One is when He commands Abraham to kill Issac as a show of loyalty. Luckily, God does not allow Abraham to go through with it, but that is besides the point. Who goes and puts a person through mental trauma by testing their loyalty by instructing them to kill their child? Then there is the case of Job, a man who suffered severely at the hands of God who was trying to prove a point to the Devil. This is so incredibly stupid, and I refuse to buy the official Christian explanation of some bullshit that the loyalty of these men was being tested. An omnipotent God would know the answer to that and have no need of persecuting those who worship him just to prove a point. Purposely bringing terrible situations on a being is a terrible thing to do and nowhere near a characteristic of a good person or being.

Let us move away from discussing the purported goodness of God; we have pretty much proved that He is not nearly as good as folks would like for him to be. Instead, I want to discuss God in relation to fear.

In moving away from the discussion of God’s goodness, let’s consider why people would care about such a thing anyway. Well, harping about the goodness of God is one of the ways by which to convert people. Hey, look what my God did for me! I can walk! I can talk! I have more money! My life was saved! Yada yada yada, plucka, plucka. Amazing how when something good and great happens to some people and they cannot explain it they automatically ascribe such to God. Is there a problem with this? Not in general terms. Sometimes, when good things happen or when something bad is avoided people say, “Oh, thank God!” Not a problem. But, to seriously ascribe all good things (might as well include the bad things that cannot be explained) that cannot be explained to have originated with God is absurd, because in reality God also cannot be explained. So, how people intend to explain the unexplained with even more of the unexplainable is ridiculously absurd. However, the hands-down, absolute best way by which to convert the unsuspecting and fearful individuals that are known to frequent planet earth (sometimes such individuals are in fact labeled or referred to as ‘mindless sheep’ and in reality this is not their fault) is to talk about God’s anger and what happens when God is angry.

In reality, talking about God’s goodness and purported love for all of mankind puts zero pressure on an individual to accept God and Jesus and the Holy Bible. On the other hand, God’s anger or threat of anger has a way of motivating many people to buy into religion lock, stock, and barrel. People want to avoid the anger, the wrath of God and so they believe. Romans 5:9 tells folks that they can be saved from God’s wrath by being justified in his blood. How is that done? Well, you have to believe in God and everything that pertains to him. And what do you get to avoid for your efforts of belief? Why, you get to spend eternity in heaven with God and Jesus after Jesus comes back to earth and everything and everyone who did not believe in God is destroyed. How does the earth get destroyed? With fire, terrible battles where the blood is supposedly as high as the bridles on horses, mega earthquakes, and a bunch of other creepy stuff that is peppered with things like giant scorpions that punish people with pain.

The Old Testament is rife with examples of God’s anger as well as people actually requesting that God place his anger upon someone or something. Psalm 56:7 says, “On no account let them escape; in your anger, oh God, bring down the nations.” Psalm 78:31 says, “God’s anger rose against them; he put to death the sturdiest among them, cutting down the young men of Israel.” Imagine that…that God becomes so angry, even with his own people, that he kills them. What better way to get your chosen people to do exactly what you want, to keep them in line then by butchering them when they don’t listen to you.

Now, when it comes to modern day proselytizing the prospective converts are eventually informed that to NOT believe in God and the salvation of Jesus Christ is to be in direct disobedience to God, which, of course, opens the door for very bad things to happen. Like what? Ephesians 5:6 says, “Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient.” That verse inevitably opens the long and drawn out conversation where the prospective convert is informed that to listen to anyone or anything or any ideal that is outside of the Bible, that does not fully follow the Bible, or that flat-out denies the existence of God is indeed included as disobedience. That, of course, opens even more doors for all sorts of bad things to happen. But, who opens those doors?

Many Christians seem split on the answer. Some will say that it is the unbelieving individual that has opened the doors in their life from which sorrow flows. Some will say that it is God himself who opens such doors because he cares for you and wants you to be in heaven with him when all of time ends. So, in an effort to save your soul God mixes up a good batch of Mishaps for you in an effort to convince you to convert and submit to his truth and authority.

Colossians 3:6 says, “Because of these sins, the wrath of God is coming.” This verse is a well used verse when it comes to convincing someone they need God and Jesus. The unbeliever is told that they are a sinner and have been so since birth. Because of man’s natural birth into sin it is necessary for man to be redeemed. Once people are redeemed they have successfully removed themselves from the ranks of unbelieving people heading to hell when they die their human death.

There are so many verses that speak of God’s anger, God’s wrath, and the results of such, that it would be pointless to list them all. I would, however, like to share these particular verses with you. In addition, as is typical of the style in which I write, I have added personal opinions and comments after each verse.

“Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty,” Revelation 19:15. This verse sounds like something Hitler would have said in the course of delivering one of his delusional and mentally disconnected speeches.

“Because you are stubborn and refuse to turn from your sin, you are storing up terrible punishment for yourself. For a day of anger is coming, when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed,” Romans 2:5. When I was a kid this verse was explained to me to mean that refusing to believe in God and salvation through Jesus Christ was most definitely a sin. But, because God loves all men so very much he gives them chance after chance to get with the program and believe. However, the longer it takes for a person to believe in God the greater the amount of God’s anger toward that person. Then, if that person waits too long and happens to die before receiving Christ, that person will face the full force of all that anger that was building up for not believing in the first place.

“The Lord’s anger burned against Uzzah because of his irreverent act; therefore God struck him down, and he died there beside the ark of God,” 2 Samuel 6:7. Let me get this right. So, Uzzah acts in an irreverent manner and God strikes him dead right there, BOOM! For acting in an irreverent manner. You know, there seems to be some sort of divine screw-up here. There surely is no shortage of televangelists and tent preachers and the like who persistently act in irreverent manners, yet God does not strike them dead. Whether such preachers are discovered to have had sexual relations with congregation members, sexual relations with hookers, or even that the preacher has misappropriated church monies, somewhere along the line God has amended his irreverent manner definition and ensuing policies of punishment.

“Has God forgotten to be merciful? Has he in anger withheld his compassion? Selah,” Psalm 77:9. Again we come upon the issue of God flubbing up when he is supposed to be perfect. Has God forgotten? Forgotten? A perfect God cannot by nature forget anything. Then there is the part about God withholding his compassion. This is another example of biblical hypocrisy. Someone, divine being or otherwise, is not in any way, shape, or form perfect if they allow their anger to interfere with their finer characteristics. And isn’t God supposed to be patient and kind and everlasting and compassionate since love itself is all of these fine things and God is supposed to be love?

“Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever,” Revelation 15:7. You would think that God would go for a much simpler answer to everything that ills mankind than to destroy everything with his wrath. Doesn’t God remember that God is love and love conquers all? Are not bad and terrible things and behaviors and results included in that ‘all’? It does not make sense for love to conquer all, for God to be love, but for God to solve things by releasing his wrath. So stupid. If God truly loved everyone and wanted to save everyone he would do so simply by releasing his love from the seven golden bowls and not wrath.

“If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and if you go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you,” Joshua 23:16. Here lies the truth of God’s conditional love. You will love me or I will take away everything I have given you and then destroy you! Lovely.

“The anger of the Lord burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim, to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years,” Judges 3:8. Another verse intended to strike fear into the hearts of those who might otherwise decide to believe or think differently. Look what the Lord did to Israel, his own chosen people, when they did not listen and do exactly as he requested. He sold them into slavery. If you know what is good for you, you will listen to God or suffer dire consequences. Ridiculous.

“So the Lord’s anger burned against Israel, and for a long time he kept them under the power of Hazael king of Aram and Ben-Hadad his son,” 2 Kings 13:3. You know, someone who reacts so poorly to their own anger really should not be in charge.

“God is a righteous judge, a God who expresses his wrath every day,” Psalm 7:11. And that is probably why God does not have as many followers as he would like. Ever hear the phrase that says something about catching more flies with honey? If God really and truly wants to get a strong following he ought to show more of that love that is supposed to conquer all. Show THAT everyday, God, and see where it gets you. You might be surprised.

“The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath,” Psalm 110:5. Another absurd, anger-driven snippet that sounds like something Hitler would say.

“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,” Isaiah 13:9. Hiel, Hitler!

“Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: my anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the fruit of the ground, and it will burn and not be quenched,” Jeremiah 7:20. Sounds like napalm.

“But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God, the eternal King. When he is angry, the earth trembles; the nations cannot endure his wrath,” Jeremiah 10:10. So, I was thinking that if the nations are all those which are not God’s special and chosen people, what is the point in believing in the first place? This verse is just another round about way of saying believe this way or die, think this way or die, live this way or die.

“The Lord has given full vent to his wrath; he has poured out his fierce anger. He kindled a fire in Zion that consumed her foundations,” Lamentations 4:11. You know why this verse is in the book of Lamentations? Because the fact that such a supposed great divine being that chooses to give full vent to his wrath when he very clearly has the ability to instead give full vent to his love is truly something that would (or should) elicit lament from any clear thinking individual. By the way, God, the actions by you in this verse indicate you have committed arson. You hear those sirens? Yep, they are coming for you.

“The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord takes vengeance and is filled with wrath. The Lord takes vengeance on his foes and maintains his wrath against his enemies,” Nahum 1:2. God, you really, really need to take some anger management classes. You might want to throw in some Xanax and Zoloft.

“And who made God angry for forty years? Wasn’t it the people who sinned, whose corpses lay in the wilderness,” Hebrews 3:17. Well, I can see the anger management classes did not work. Let’s replace the Xanax and Zoloft with Lithium and Oxycontin.

I would like to close this chapter with these comments here: There have been many studies on anger and on what anger does to the human being’s mind and body and the people and circumstances around the angry person. Medical science has established that in certain circumstances of prolonged anger certain people develop heart problems amongst a host of other maladies. I found it interesting that the most frequently mentioned body part that was affected by anger was the heart. Anger also very heavily influences the human being’s OTHER heart, the heart that they love with. Now, if man was truly made in the image of God, then you can bet that God has a heart also with which he loves. Maybe that is God’s main problem, why he does not seem to want to allow love to conquer all. He has been so angry and so full of wrath for so long that there are now serious issues with his heart.

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