Sketches on Atheism

Incompetence or malevolence: the failure of the Christian narrative

lucifer_212759“God’s creation was perfect; there was no sickness, pain, or death. But this perfect creation did not last long.” (Ken Ham)

The Christian narrative is erected upon the basal claim that Man corrupted Yhwh’s perfect Creation and is therefore diseased and in need of a cure. That cure is, of course, Jesus, who sacrificed himself, to himself, to save humanity from himself.

It’s a stunningly ridiculous plot, the absurd work of ferociously unimaginative men, and it is made all the more outrageously idiotic by the fact that the bible doesn’t even support the cardinal claim upon which Christianity is built: that Man corrupted Creation.

By the bibles own chronology of events, the angels were created before the earth, and the earth before man (Job 38:4-7). Evil, however, entered Creation before the earth, and therefore before man… an event witnessed in the fall of Yhwh’s most beautiful creation, Lucifer (Ezekiel 28, Isaiah 14). Creation, therefore, was diseased before the earth was even shaped, and the tumour Christianity blames on Adam was already growing before Yhwh fashioned man. The angels fell before man. Original sin does not lay at Adams feet, but the angels.

temptation-of-EveNow, ignoring the fact that Jesus (a Jew) didn’t even teach the doctrine of original sin, by the story’s own chronology, Yhwh brought man into an already infected world…. and this raises a rather pressing, somewhat awkward question: Why would he do such a thing? Why would Yhwh create man and place him in a Creation that had already failed?

Is this not the equivalent of a father moving his children into a house that is already ablaze?

To the genuinely impartial observer looking at the story, does this indicate incompetence or malevolence?

*Inspired by Wally

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113 thoughts on “Incompetence or malevolence: the failure of the Christian narrative

      • I noted on the other thread one commentator suggested Revelation 12 was referring to the future not the past. That seemed odd as the references to the fall of the Devil in Revelation are pretty much universally considered as referring to the past. Unless Christians think that the Devil is still in heaven.

        Perhaps he still reports to God every day as per Job, but then that would make God responsible for the Devils actions.

        But then again Luke 22:31 does imply that the Devil needs God’s permission. So God is responsible!

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  1. It indicates a story concocted by a committee who could keep their stories straight.

    Even the Christian idea that Original Sin is a punishment for disobedience doesn’t hold water. If Yahweh were pissed off about his Man’s disobedience, why did He not kill them as He promised? Why did He lie about the punishment for this disobedience or, if you insist he didn’t lie, then why did he change His infallible mind?

    God can’t have been a right-wing conservative, at least of the U.S. variety because he would have put Vladimir Putin in the garden first and Vladimir wouldn’t have failed (he is a real leader!). Maybe He is a Canadian Conservative who got to blame it on the illegal immigrant in the Garden (Damned serpents!).

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  2. Why would Yahweh bring Man into the world with already present original sin?
    Because then Yahweh would have someone to blame the original sin on.
    P.S. Jesus as a cure? Sorry, not buying that without FDA approval and double-blind trials.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Is this not the equivalent of a father moving his children into a house that is already ablaze?”

    Indeed. Where did the knowledge of good and evil tree come from? It seems clear that evil already existed.

    “To the genuinely impartial observer looking at the story, does this indicate incompetence or malevolence?”

    Why would a so-called loving god put something that could cause enormous suffering in the same place where toddlers are, bring it to their attention and then say “don’t touch” or you will surely die, as though a toddle is going to understand what death is.

    I would go with the latter. Malevolence.

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  4. If it were possible to temporarily bypass the religious part of their brains and have them read Genesis unfettered with indoctrination and record the result we would have deconverts tripping over themselves before you could say, ”ElOI, ElOI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?”

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  5. Of course the Bible’s chronology isn’t even internally consistent. Animals were created before Man (Genesis 1:25-27). No, wait! Man was created before animals (Genesis 2:18-19). The scholarly explanation is that the story was invented twice by two different people, and cobbled together. Hardly a “perfect” book.

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    • The six-day creation story comes from Zoroastrianism (on the first day, after creating the heavens and spiritual beings, Ahura-Mazda shaped the sky made of metal. Second, he made pure water. Third, he created the earth, flat and round with no mountains or valleys. Fourth he made the plants, moist with no thorns. Fifth, he created animals, big and small. Then he created the First Man, called Gayomard)… so the proto-Jews couldn’t even plagiarise the story correctly 😉

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  6. I say, Yahweh left this universe, and his mucked up creation a long time ago. He’s rather like Frankenstein in Shelly’s novel. He incompetently made something then ran away like a child when it opened its eyes and said, “Daddy, what up?” Of course, he later impregnated a 12 year old virgin Jewish gal in the guise of an angel with himself so he could become his own son and commit suicide via Roman centurion, so that he could redeem us from himself because he, himself, was angry with us. Yeah. Who wouldn’t buy into that story, eh? BTW, tell Jesus, if you see him, that I LOVE toast!

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  7. “Why would Yhwh create man and place him in a Creation that had already failed?”

    Cuz she knew they’d all turn into horrid little atheists and she wanted them to perpetuate their own suffering in appropriate surroundings? The dinosaurs were too dumb for that, and she had to send a meteorite to grief them out. So came the time for a species just smart enough to keep its own suffering ticking along nicely. And here we jolly well are!

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  8. Here’s the thing I’ve always pondered: In the “perfect” garden with Adam and Even was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. However, according to doctrine, evil did not yet exist. How, therefore, could there have been a tree with the power to provide a knowledge of that evil. It would be more like the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Something-Else-Which-Doesn’t-Exist-Yet

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  9. Reblogged this on Mass Delusions a.k.a. Magical & Religious Woo-Bullshit Thinking and commented:
    John Zande, the man behind the blog “The superstitious naked ape”, is one of my favorites in the blogosphere.

    Not only is he clever, but he also often finds new angles to debunk and refute silly God arguments.

    In this blog post he argues that Lucifer (a.k.a the Serpent in the Garden of Eden and the Devil) had defected from God and therefore been cast out from Heaven down to Earth. So Adam and Eve were not the first sinners ever among the entities created by God Almighty. In fact, God’s own divine and elaborated creation plan was already soiled by Lucifer’s pride, envy and wish to be equal to God.

    The weakest link in John Zandes reasoning is the answer to this important key question is: When was the Devil cast out from Heaven?

    Unfortunately the Holy Scripture is a bit vague about the exact date the rebellion in Heaven happened.

    The following is known: 1) Lucifer is an angel. 2) All the angels were created before the earth (Job 38:4-7). 3) Satan must have fallen before he – disguised as a Serpent – tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1-14).

    Conclusion: Satan’s fall must therefore have occurred somewhere after the time the angels were created and before he tempted Adam and Eve in Paradise.

    But whether Satan’s fall occurred a few minutes or millennia before he tempted Adam and Eve in the garden is unfortunately not specified in the Scripture.

    But we know that many church fathers and Christian philosophers and theologians have pondered this important question.

    For example, Saint Augustine relates the fall of the evil and rebellious angels to the book of Genesis: “And God saw the light that it was good, and he divided the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:4).

    We also know that Thomas Aquinas picks up this allegory from Saint Augustine, and identifies the separation of light from darkness as the day (date) the evil and rebelling angels were separated from the good, loyal and obedient ones uo in Heaven.

    And who am I to question what Saint Augustine and Thomas Aquinas consider being the truth about when the rebellion occurred in Heaven?

    So John Zande seems to be right in his conclusions. His views expressed in this blog post are -as we can see – supported by two so extremely respectable and revered persons that the Catholic Church once honored them as not only saints but also as Doctor of the Church, thereby indicating that both Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas still today are considered the Catholic Church’s greatest theologians and/or philosophers ever!

    Need I say more?

    Read more about Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas, and their dating of Lucifer’s fall, here: http://taylormarshall.com/2013/11/how-did-lucifer-become-satan-thomas-aquinas-answers.html .

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    • Great commentary, my friend. This is from GotQuestions:

      How, why, and when did Satan fall from heaven?

      Answer: Satan’s fall from heaven is symbolically described in Isaiah 14:12-14 and Ezekiel 28:12-18. While these two passages are referring specifically to the kings of Babylon and Tyre, they also reference the spiritual power behind those kings, namely, Satan. These passages describe why Satan fell, but they do not specifically say when the fall occurred. What we do know is this: the angels were created before the earth (Job 38:4-7). Satan fell before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden (Genesis 3:1-14). Satan’s fall, therefore, must have occurred somewhere after the time the angels were created and before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Whether Satan’s fall occurred a few minutes, hours, or days before he tempted Adam and Eve in the Garden, Scripture does not specifically say.”

      Hey, a good friend of mine just moved to Linköping last week. He’s going to be there for 2 years.

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  10. There’s a couple other questions that can get asked.

    Why didn’t the angels and demons get the same offer of redemption that humanity got?

    What’s stopping this deity from changing its mind later on?

    Oh, and unless I’m mistaken, “Bible” is capitalized because all titles of works of fiction are capitalized. 😉

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  11. This is what happens when you try and take the hodge-podge that both Judaism and Christianity were created from and try to make everything fit over time. Had they known we would develop search engines to check their “facts” they may have tried less to twist things in the fashion they have

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  13. This was actually one of the earliest philosophical debates I had with my mom who is a devout Christian. I have written several posts on the idea of perfection, because to be quite honest I don’t think anything is perfect. Either that, or everything is perfect. Take your pick.

    My mother always argued that God was perfect, and so I couldn’t understand why he would make a being where a high percentage of the people would not become Christians or even if they did would not really follow the bible due to how imperfect they were. I said to my mom, “It’s a little like a perfect carpenter choosing to build a table with only 3 legs, knowing that with the right pressure in the right place it would just fall over”. All I remember her response being was that I needed to talk to someone in apologetics. I was 16 at the time and I didn’t know what apologetics was, but I remember thinking to myself “I don’t want an apology, I just want an answer”. lol

    But it’s clear that we were never perfect, because if we were why would we disobey God in favor of talking snake. I mean we didn’t even take much convincing. We never tried to explain to the snake how awesome God was, and this paradise of a garden was, the serpent was like “Nah nah…you can eat from the tree”…and bam evil. I mean seriously who tries to make something without evil, and then put’s evil like right there…right there…I mean at least make us travel a bit to get it. God: “I put evil on the top of that mountain as far away as I could…but in the end they still found it. Damn my creation and their curiosity!”

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    • The only way I could understand this matter when i called myself a Christian was that God wanted people to freely chose to love and follow him. So to do this people needed a genuine choice to follow him or to reject him. Thus God gave people freewill knowing that people would rebel as it was the only way that they had a real choice.

      I am not seeking to defend this logic, rather I am just trying to explain how I had rationalised it in a manner I could live with.

      Though I do think the logic would work better if there was no threat of Hell.

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      • Peter, you wrote: “The only way I could understand this matter when i called myself a Christian was that God wanted people to freely chose to love and follow him.

        I think most Christians were fed that “logic” in church. The actual message is, “love and follow me or die”.

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      • But I think this is sort of what John said in his comment. That if we look at the story as not being literal, as it rather teaching us a lesson about how God wants our relationship to be with him, it’s a reasonable story (although I still think it could be told a lot better). I read somewhere that language has also simply developed more words overtime, and so stories from the bible are simply less detailed than we might expect them to be nowadays. Not sure if that’s true. But I read somewhere that the bible in Hebrew contains only like 40,000 different words, but when translated into English it has 3 times as many or more. I can’t quite remember.

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      • Hi Swarm, ancient Hebrew is certainly not the language of choice for writing a sophisticated story. It suffers on four main fronts:
        1) small number of words (as you mentioned) – some Hebrew words have up to 40 different English equivalents, you can imagine the challenges this causes for modern translators (they tend to pick the translation that suits their theological agenda);
        2) words were originally written without vowels, these were added centuries later;
        3) there was no gap between words so later interpreters had to judge where words started and finished;
        4) the Hebrew script often puts dots and the like in strategic places to determine the word, those are especially prone to copy error.

        The evidence of error in transmission of the Hebrew text is especially obvious in the Book of Samuel, even conservative scholars admit that some words in the text must be errors.

        The actual reason there are so few obvious errors is that up until around 200 BC it seems the text was still be creatively re–written, which provided a ready way to overcome copying error.

        It does seem odd to me that an all powerful deity could not have given his people a more robust form of written communication. Likewise surely an all powerful God could have preserved the text from error in transmission. Apologists will argue that there are very few errors and cite this as a miracle of sort. That is not how I see it, firstly we don’t have originals so we don’t know how many actual errors there are, secondly no errors might be a miracle, the same can not be claimed in regard to some errors, even if few in number (which is a questionable claim in itself).

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    • Hey Swarm

      It’s an awesomely terrible story. The character, the plot, the cosmogony… all atrocious. It doesn’t even deserve attention, but an evangelical over on Wally’s blog couldn’t grasp the point the other day that the angels fell first, so I decided to put it down.

      Steve Ruis, however, had an interesting take on the Garden story recently. If we accept the story to be nothing but part of a wisdom tradition, then it’s simply a tale with a central message being, “take responsibility for your own actions.” Adam blames Eve, Eve blames the Snake, everyone loses.

      Are you happy withe the election outcome up there?

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      • Oh I agree that from a “lesson to learn” perspective I can accept it, but to think that it represents any sort of literal truth is simply unfathomable. It would be like thinking Aesop’s Fables were real and that foxes and crows talk to each other. lol

        I am very happy about the elections as a person from Canada. But I have been living in the U.S. now 20 years so I still have to deal with the Trumps and the Republican clown car of candidates still. lol

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  14. Love your points here. Incompetence makes sense to me, though malevolence is possible. I’d add, God supposedly created the tree so why, in a perfect creation by an omniscient deity, create a situation with evil as an option? Is he testing humans to see if they’ll obey him? If so, that contradicts god’s supposed omniscience. If you know everything, you have no need to run tests.

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    • Hi Nancy

      Great point, an omniscient being would have no need for tests. A benevolent being would have no need for tests. A half-decent artisan/designer would have no need for tests. It’s such a flawed tale that you have to scratch your head, wondering how anyone could be impressed by this character.

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  15. Yes! I have been saying since the time of creation (see what I did there?) that the bible is a terrible piece of writing. The plot holes are numerous and massive and the amount of theological gymnastics that must be performed to make sense of it all really quite comical. Great post.

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  16. Oh I love it when the idiocy of their own bibles is turned upon them. Never fear, the thick headed mules all have their blinders on. One will stroll through and make some sort of claim about how we just can’t understand the perfectness of jeebus, they’d be right. 🙂

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  17. To the genuinely impartial observer looking at the story, does this indicate incompetence or malevolence?;

    Both? But as you know John, our brains are phenomenal organs capable of superbly dramatic creations of perception, constructs, and memory! 😀 I strongly suspect that the ancient writers (whoops, sorry!)… editors, paraphrasers, and supervised scribes of the “biblical” texts… were no different than human brains are today. Well, to be fair, a LOT MORE of the “lowly masses” in today’s civilizations are far-and-beyond more “educated” (highly educated?) than the illiterate masses of those days during campfire stories (i.e. before writing was invented) inscription of said stories, and later canonical compositions! Again, all done under strict imperial aristocratic supervision understandably designed to “manage” the masses. 😉

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    • Nicely put, Professor, but I’d add under “manage the masses” the dual purpose of the Pentateuch being a unity tale; a geopolitical work of historical fiction (attached, as it is, to the creation myth which the proto-Israelites borrowed from the Zoroastrians) explaining the reach and validity of authority. It’s really not complicated, is it… and that continuously baffles me how so many (evangelicals, especially) persist in trying to see this tale as something real.

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      • Ah, well said and further filling to my point John! Bravo! And no surprise you could do it. 😉

        It’s really not complicated, is it… and that continuously baffles me how so many (evangelicals, especially) persist in trying to see this tale as something real.

        Bafflement (baffles? baff-holes? lol) are justified certainly, and I might be of some service in that regard! Nursing proceedures excluded. 😛

        As you may or may not know, I am overly intimately experienced with the pathology and lifestyle of Fundy-Evangelicals. I married one and her family… long long history of missionairies and ministers… and their friends (fellow believers) in many churches and national organizations. As you also may know, I am a former seminary grad-student from Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, closely affiliated with the PCA and less so with the PCUSA. Now, all of that mumbo-jumbo (sorry) to say this…

        Aside from all the historically ACCURATE data & facts modern man and scientists now have the common Fundy-Evangy deeply believes that our existence on Earth in this one life, is sadly lived in fear. Fear based in a separation from this “fallen” Earth, which you’ve touched on, and in their perceptions (and yes, brainwashing) & experiences, this existence is mostly harsh, fragile, and unworthy of embracing it. Thus, for 2,000 something years those biblical scribes & leaders had to separate humanity from trying to enjoy (idolize?) our Earthly existence — ironically the very object, Mother Earth, that totally sustains us!

        How stupid is that? 😉

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      • spot on, as always… although I have to admit I find it almost impossible to imagine you as a Grade-A Evangelical. The dissonance you must have deployed to maintain that position (from an intellectual perspective) could have probably moved millions in not-so-healthy ways.

        I like your closing point, too. I recently wrote about just that, saying: Theism’s most insidious, treacherous act is in convincing frightened but otherwise sane individuals that this planet, here and now, is not their home.

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      • You are so right. Until we find feasible sorta-safe-enough means of interstellar travel to OTHER liveable planets, this one is ALL we have for the foreseeable future! Yet, we treat it and its species like shit or think of it in shitty ways. 😦

        Regarding my seminary Fundy past, I have innate desire to understand aspects of human experience & perception in intensily intimate ways. Textbooks rarely do that for me. I want to eventually DIVE IN once I’ve determined the make-up of the water, as much as is intelligently possible. 9-10 years later, learned it is all simply a mechanism to cope with the hard times in life and with our sane, pseudo-sane, and insane peers. P

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  18. Nice range of comments here John 🙂

    My first answer is incompetent, but in retrospect, the sheer dissonance provided suggests malevolence.

    Anyway I like MMJ’s, the bible lacks a seriously good editor with all those short stories, Sirius’s it needs a cap because it’s a work of fiction – ‘God’s Escapist Tales for People Who Can’t Face Death’? (Or face life). And loved Hariod’s clip as I adore Apocalypse Now.

    Wally’s is quite the rich minefield. Not that I’ve indulged lately, better for my sanity.

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  19. Pingback: God looks a lot like no God | Allallt in discussion

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