Is the Christian God Evil? Evidence from Scripture and Nature

By Vexen Crabtree 2006 Jul 11


1. The Old Testament God is Evil

1.1. God Creates Evil Regardless of Human Free Will

"I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD do all these things." (Isaiah 45:7)

Isaiah 45:7 affirms that God creates darkness and disaster. It is not a creation of mankind, nor of fallen beings or Satan. The Hebrew word here that is translated as "disaster" could also mean "wickedness", "hurt", "affliction" or "adversity". God creates these things directly. Any argument that asserts that evil is a result of Human free will must first get over the fact that the Christian Bible states that God creates evil and disaster itself. Not only does this God create darkness and disaster, but it actively "does" them too. For example in Job 42:11 God is described as doing evil to Job as part of its test of Job even though Job is described as holy and blameless. In other words, the evil done by God on Job was not the result of Job's free will. Also, his children and animals are all slaughtered too, as collateral damage1. God doesn't merely create evil and suffering as possibilities, it actively chooses to do them itself.

Psalm 104:27-30 notes that God sometimes makes animals happy and sometimes "terrifies them" as part of the daily rhythm of life as described in general by Psalm 104, although the King James Version nicely tones this down to "troubles" them.

The Book of Lamentations confirms that free will cannot stop evil, when evil comes from God, nor can man stop goodness, when goodness comes from God:

Who is he that can speak, and it happens, when the Lord command it not?37
Out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not both evil and good?38

Lamentations 3:37-38

1.2. Satan and God are Interchangeable2

Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

Psalms 139:12 (KJV)

As various authors copied copies of the Hebrew Scriptures, changes accumulated in the stories. Sometimes, the same story appears twice. There are even two accounts of the Creation that contradict each other in the details. One such doubled story shows us clearly that the Old Testament God is evil, and Satan itself is not a separate being, but is actually part of God, a face of God. There is one occasion when David took a census of his men in order to count how many could fight in the armies of Israel. 1 Chronicles 21:2 and 2 Samuel 24:2 both contain a copy of the exact same text:

So David said to Joab and the commanders of the troops, "Go and count the Israelites from Beersheba to Dan. Then report back to me so that I may know how many there are."

1 Chronicles 21:2

So the king said to Joab and the army commanders with him, "Go throughout the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba and enroll the fighting men, so that I may know how many there are."

2 Samuel 24:2

What had happened is that God had a rule: That David was not allowed to 'number' Israel. But, for some reason, David went ahead and did so. As a result, God punished them all for breaking his rule. But, it is very telling when we examine the preceding verse: Who inspired David to count Israel's fighting men?

Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel

1 Chronicles 21:1

The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, "Go and take a census of Israel and Judah."

2 Samuel 24:1

In one copy of the story, we are told Satan told David to do so. In the other, it was God. How can this be? It is because in the Old Testament, Satan and God are the same being. Satan in the Old Testament is merely the face that God puts on when it is testing its people. "The anger of the Lord" is Satan. It was common in old religions (Hinduism, Roman religions, etc) for gods to have multiple faces, each associated with different emotions. In the Christian Bible, Satan is God.

A similar confusion of roles happens in the Book of Job. In Job 1:8-12 Satan approaches God and asks to test Job's loyalty to God. In Job 1:11 it is God who is asked "put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face". Satan's idea is that if God demolishes Job's good life, then Job will no longer be faithful to God. But Satan can't do this itself as it is God that has the power to do evil. In the next verse God gives that power to Satan:

And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand.

Job 1:12 [KJV]

So, Satan acts only when God gives it power to do so. Once again, we see that God and Satan are merely two facets of the same being. One final verse seals this idea. Who, when it comes to the concluding of the story in chapter 42, is given the credit for bringing evil against Job? It is God itself:

[Job's friends and family] comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him.

Job 42:11 [KJV]

Other translations such as Young's Literal Translation phrase it in the same way. God and Satan are intertwined. Satan can't do anything except by the will of God. Psalms 139:12, 1 Chronicles 21:1-2 and 2 Samuel 24:1-2, and Job 1:8-12, 42:11 all confuse good and evil, God and Satan into one single creative force, with God being described as not only the source of evil, but as its actual instigator. God cannot be benevolent.

1.3. Fear God3

"And the LORD repented of the evil which he thought to do unto his people"

Exodus 32:14

"The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name"

Exodus 15:3

"For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God"

Exodus 34:14

"Blessed is everyone that feareth the Lord."

Psalms 128

The Old Testament describes God as angry, fearsome, destructive and vengeful. In continual deviance from what a good god would do, and feel, the God of the Old Testament sometimes repents of its own actions and thoughts. How can a god that knows everything, and is never wrong, repent? How can a good god even have evil thoughts, let alone do evil actions?

It seems one thing that Old Testament gets right is its assertions that we should fear god. See Lev. 25:17; Deut. 6:2, 6:13, 10:12, 10:20, 31:12-13; Joshua 4:24; 1 Sam. 12:14; 2 Kings 17:39; Job 28:28; Psalms 19:9, 25:14, 33:8, 33:18, 34:9, 96:4, 103:11, 103:17, 111:10, 112:1, 115:13, 128:1, 147:11; Proverbs 1:7, 22:4, 24:21; Ecc. 5:7, 12:13; Jer. 5:22. We should definitely fear such a god as this!

In Old Testament times, people were exposed to many different Gods. Frequently, people would simply have to be scared into worshipping one god over another. By representing it as powerful, destructive, jealous and harsh, the Jews who wrote the Old Testament were affirming that they believed their God should be worshipped, and other Gods should be abandoned.

"The third century Church Father, Tertullian, could not imagine how God could not demand fear":

But how are you going to love, without some fear that you do not love? Surely [an unfeared God] is neither your Father, towards whom your love for duty's sake should be consistent with fear because of His power; nor your proper Lord, whom you should love for His humanity and fear as your teacher.

Tertullian4
Quoted from "The Dark Side of Christian History" by Helen Ellerbe (1995)5

1.4. Adam and Eve and Original Sin: The Immoral Schemes of God

The Adam and Eve story shows god as an immoral bad parent, not as a loving God (2006)

The immoral doctrine of original sin, where children are punished for the sins of their parents is hardly the scheme of a moral god. Adam and Eve were punished with death, pain, suffering and caused the evil of all mankind... yet they themselves 'sinned' before they knew the difference between Good and Evil. God must be immoral, if it punishes innocent people for sins they do not understand and could not resist.

1.5. The New Testament Tells us that the Old Testament God is Evil

2nd Century Marcionite Christians believed that the Old Testament God was Evil (2006)

The author of the Gospel of Luke wrote that Jesus said that 'a tree is known by its fruit' (Luke 6:43-44): "Good trees do not produce rotten fruit, and rotten trees do not produce good fruit". The Old Testament God, who says that he "creates evil" (Amos. 3:6, Isaiah 45:7), cannot therefore be a 'good tree', but must be a rotten one. Luke 12:5 warns us to fear God above anything else in life. An ancient form of Christianity was preached by Marcion, who realized that the God of the Old Testament must be Evil. As Marcion believed that the Good News of the New Testament was the plan of salvation from a good God, he believed that through Jesus the evil god the Old Testament had been defeated.

2. The New Testament God is Also Evil

Jesus and the Disciples accepted the Old Testament as God's word. They could only do this if they themselves believed that God was not benevolent. They also preached the goodness of God, despite his apparent evil. This is because they, like the writers of the Old Testament, do not care if god is 'good' or 'evil', they merely wish to do its will, in order to get rewards in heaven.

The Book of Revelations is the climax and final book of the New Testament, where it is said that God will once again revert to his Old Testament ways... the suffering and pain described in the apocalypse is something that a good god could never let happen. To even believe that God do this is to believe in a monstrous demon of a God.

2.1. No Free Will

The New Testament preaches at great length that we have no free will, and that God's punishment is arbitrary

The Bible teaches that there is no free will. Examining Exodus, Ecclesiastes 7, Ephesians 1, Ephesians 2, Matthew 5:45, Acts 13, Romans 8, Roman 9, 2 Timothy, 2 Thessalonians, Titus 3:4-5 and Revelations, we see that God's plan overrides our free will; those that do good do the specific good that God predestined them to do, and all others are ruled by Satan because God sends "powerful delusions" to them. The Christian Bible frequently states that God creates our future and decides our fates, no matter what our own will is. It constantly denies that we have free will. Some of the foremost Christians in history have taught that there is no free will, including St. Augustine (one of the four great founders of Western Christianity6), Martin Luther (founder of Protestantism) and John Calvin.

The doctrine of predestination is like the doctrine of original sin. They affirm that God is not just, not moral, and is actively evil and arbitrary. Not only do god's plans override free will, but, God also punishes those who it has predetermined to be punished. There is no grand moral plan to god's will. It makes no sense to say that this is the behaviour of a good god. The New Testament makes more sense if its schemes are the plan of an evil god, rather than a good one.

2.2. God Destroys Families

God itself sets some very poor examples when it comes to parenting. Genesis 6:7 says "And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them". What does this teach us? If our children do not turn out how we wished, then, we can follow the example of the perfectly just Christian God, and destroy them. And anything around them, including animals and other people. We can deliver group punishments in accordance with the worst offenders amongst them, and, the less bad amongst them are simply unlucky to have been around at the wrong time. It seems that when it comes to good parenting, it is not to the Christian God that we should look!

Genesis furnishes us with some additional horror in the stories of Lot and his family who lived in Sodom, and, of Abraham and his precious first son Isaac. In Genesis chapters 18 and 19, Lot is rescued from destruction by God's actions for his noble and commendable actions. What did he do? He tried to protect 3 male guests who had arrived at his house, from a mob outside who wanted to rape them. His method of protection was to send out his two virgin daughters and tell the crowd they could do as they pleased with them. In case we doubt God's judgement of Lot, Lot then goes and has children by both of his daughters. The story of Abraham and Isaac in Genesis chapter 22 has Abraham obey the voices in his head which tell him to murder his only son Isaac on an altar as a sacrifice to God. Abraham complies, and is massively rewarded by God. Any moral person would have sternly told Abraham that he failed God's test. These two stories tell us that obediance and male honour are valued far ahead of the protection of the family; rape of young daughters and child murder are both preferable to disobeying voices in your head, and risking your male guests from being mobbed.

Deuteronomy 13:6-9 says that if your relatives or friends try to get you to worship other gods, firstly you must not give in to them, and secondly, you must kill them. That's right - kill your relatives if they try to draw you away from your religion, "without pity". Genesis 17:10,12,14 teaches that newborns are to be circumcized, and, those who are not are to be cast away from their friends and family. There seems to be no way to view such teachings in a moral way. The author(s) of the Bible severely lacked moral compassion and a sense of justice. Even when aiming at noble goals, such as respect for family life, the moral teachings derived from this instinct go instantly awry in the Bible - note that the punishment for cursing one's father or mother, and for adultery, is death (Exodus 21:17).

Throughout the Old Testament, male children are promised by God as the ultimate reward, women are often unable to bear children (but this fate never happens to men). Throughout the Old and New, the unequal and barbaric position of women in the family compared to men is infamously misogynistic - there are too many related verses to repeat here.

The teachings of Jesus do not bring much in the way of hope for family life:

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.

Matthew 10:34-37

Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

Luke 12:51-53

Milder verses continue the theme; Jesus in Mark 3:31-35 leaves his "brethren and his mother" outside after they call for him; giving no reason at all for shunning them, he instead says that his followers were his brethren and mother. Luke 2:41-49 tells a story of a 12-year-old Jesus; he wonders off for three days and his parents search for him, before finding him in a temple. They exclaim to him that they've been looking for him sorrowfully, and his cold response is covered by the last two verses of that story: "How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them". In both places a little courtesy would have cost nothing. The lack of respect continues in another story in Luke:

"When one of his women listeners was so entranced by his teaching that she cried out 'Happy the womb that bore you and the breasts that you sucked!' Jesus shrugged off this praise of his mother. She was irrelevant: 'Still happier those who hear the word of God and keep it.' (Luke 11:27-28)."

"The Gospel According to Woman: Christianity's Creation of the Sex War in the West" by Karen Armstrong (1986)7

It is strange to hear Christians promote Christian family values as if they were a good thing, when the feelings of relatives are of such little concern to Jesus.

2.3. Jesus and the Crucifixion - A Trick 8

Lance Sievert wrote:

If I was The Devil I would manifest myself inside of a virgin, say that I am the Son of God and convince everyone that they can now be forgiven for every sin just by asking, thus opening the floodgates for an unprecedented and unending torrent of sin.

I would start with the uneducated and the poor. I would impress them with some magic tricks, teach them to pretend to eat my flesh, drink my blood and always, ALWAYS, use MY name when speaking to God.

I would most assuredly use my immortality to fool them into thinking I came back from the dead as proof of my divinity.

What better way to channel more souls away from God and straight into Hell?

Lance Sievert

For a fuller analysis of the illogical nature of the crucifixion, see:

"The Crucifixion Facade" by Vexen Crabtree (2002)

The evidence and logic is even more compelling than the anecdote above. The whole scheme of the life of Jesus does not add up, and it is very hard to reconcile it with the plans of an all-knowing, good God. The crucifixion makes no sense. The crucifixion did not empower God as God is omnipotent. It did not aid its understanding of Humanity, as God is omniscient. God did not need to become Human to experience Human suffering: God already knew. God is able to judge us perfectly, because God is perfect, just and all-knowing. The crucifixion of Jesus did not improve God's judgement of us, as God's judgement was perfect both before and after the crucifixion. The crucifixion did not aid us, as "knowing Jesus" was not the point of the crucifixion unless God has arbitrarily condemned everyone to hell who happened to live before the founding of Christianity. That those who lived before the time of Jesus' crucifixion are also judged fairly by (perfect) God means that there was no actual point to it all except as a needless public relations exercise. The entire escapade seems to be an irrational story copied from pre-Christian myths.

But it does make sense if the God of the Bible is evil. Then the magic tricks make sense, as Lance Sievert has said, as the successful attempts of an evil god to impress us simple mortals.

3. Genocides and Divine Incitements to Murder

3.1. Violence and Murder Endorsed in the Christian Bible

The Old Testament was rife with occasions when God not only sanctioned the murder, pillage and rape of the enemies of his chosen people, but, often God itself joined in, directly smiting people itself. Jeremiah 48:10 declares: "A curse on him who is lax in doing the LORD's work! A curse on him who keeps his sword from bloodshed!". It reminds me of Exodus 15:3: "The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name".

It is clear that violence has a divine Biblical endorsement. But for what ends? Luke 14:23 says "Compel people to come in!" for the purpose of "filling" the Church. Jesus himself declared "think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword" (Matthew 10:34). And henceforth, Christian history contains many unfortunate chapters where Christian groups anathematized one another as heretics, and proceeded to burn, torture and murder those who disagreed. Victims have been anyone who disagreed even on confusing technical points of Christian doctrine, members of other religions such as Muslims and Jews, and it seems, many other innocent victims ranging from outcasts who were accused of witchcraft ("Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live" - Exodus 22:18), homosexuals and finally, a small number who have genuinely plotted against the Church.

Book CoverSuch attitudes are not merely disasters found in history. Even in the twentieth century, Pope Leo XII argued for violence and murder, based on religion:

The death sentence is a necessary and efficacious means for the Church to attain its end when rebels act against it and disturbers of the ecclesiastical unity, especially obstinate heretics and heresiarchs, cannot be restrained by any other penalty. [...] If there be no other remedy for saving its people it can and must put these wicked men to death.

Pope Leo XII9

3.2. Some Genocides Committed Directly by God

Some of the genocides committed by God in the Bible are of the young, the innocent, and some are even the results of accidents. (Click the links below for full descriptions):

  1. 2 Kings 2:23-24 : 42 children are killed for calling a prophet "baldy", by two she-bears.
  2. 1 Samuel 6:19 : God kills 50 070 (or 70) of the men of Beth Shemesh for looking in (or "at") the Ark of the Covenant.
  3. 1 Kings 20:30 : God makes a wall fall on and kill 27 000 of an army retreating from some Israelites.
  4. Numbers 16:16-49 : Death to all those who complain (14 950 of them altogether).
  5. 2 Samuel 6:6-11 : God kills someone for accidentally touching the Ark of the Covenant.
  6. The Flood, which saw God wipe out all of humankind, is neither a good response to being displeased, nor is it even a good moral story symbolically. The authors of this story believed in an immoral and fearsome god which should be wholly rejected. See: "Noah, the Ark and the Flood, from the Bible Book of Genesis" by Vexen Crabtree (2013).

3.3. Genocides Committed or Ordered By God

This collection of Biblical genocides was started by a different author whose credentials I misplaced in the 1990s; it is not a complete documentation of divine slaughter in the Bible, but there are numerous books which do have fuller lists. Here is a snapshot:

Exodus 32:27-28 "[Moses' orders to his army] he said to them, "The Lord God of Israel commands every one of you to put on his sword and go through the camp from this gate to the other and kill his brothers, his friends and his neighbours. The Levites obeyed and killed about 3000 Men that day."
Exodus 32:29 "Moses said to the Levites, "Today you have consecrated yourselves as priests in the service of the Lord by killing your sons and brothers, so the Lord has given you his blessing."
Numbers 31:17 (Moses) "Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him (in other words: women that might be pregnant)."
Deuteronomy 7:1 "When Yahweh your god has settled you in the land you're about to occupy, and driven out many infidels before you...you're to cut them down and exterminate them. You're to make no compromise with them or show them any mercy."
Joshua 6:21-24 "With their swords they killed everyone in the city, men, women, young and old. They also killed the cattle, sheep and donkeys. ... And they burnt the city with fire, and all that was therein: only the silver, and the gold, and the vessels of brass and of iron, they put into the treasury of the house of the Lord."
Judges 20: Description a battle and city-burning, with no morality or sense of loss at all.
Judges 20:42-48 "... and them which came out of the cities they destroyed in the midst of them. ... And there fell of Benjamin eighteen thousand of the best Benjamine soldiers; ... and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men; ... and slew two thousand men of them. So that all which fell that day of Benjamin were twenty and five thousand men that drew the sword; ... And the men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of every city, as the beast, and all that came to hand: also they set on fire all the cities that they came to."
1 Kings 20:30 "But the rest fled to Aphek, into the city; and there a wall fell upon twenty and seven thousand of the men that were left."
1 Samuel 15:1-8 "Now listen to what the Lord Almighty says. He is going to punish the people of Amalek because their ancestors opposed the Israelites... 3-8 : With 210000 soldiers they killed all the men, women, children, babies, cattle, camels and donkeys."
Esther 9:12-16: The Jews slaughter enemies in an internal strife in the Persian empire, at least 75800 enemies are killed.
Hosea 13:16 "Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up."

Revelations is full of genocides. Here are some.
Revelation 6:8 (the 4th seal) "I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth.
Revelation 9:15 (the 6th seal) "And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind."
Revelation 4th Seal and 6th Seal. Here's a quick calculation assuming an initial population of 6 000 000 000:
1/4 are killed when the 4th seal is opened: 1/4 of 6.0 billion is 1.5 billion, leaving 4.5 billion survivors.
1/3 are killed then the 6th seal is opened: 1/3 of 4.5 billion is 1.5 billion, leaving 3.0 billion survivors.
Exactly half of Humankind are killed, and this calculation uses only two of the seven seals!

It is an incredibly difficult task to explain to Christians who decide to kill in god's name that they are in fact going against the Bible, because this is simply not the case.

4. Sowing Seeds of Confusion - Not the Antics of a Good God10

The Book of Numbers in the Hebrew Scriptures / Old Testament contains two examples of some very limited communication methods used by God, both of which would have serious consequences if anyone didn't immediately and almost subconsciously choose to ignore them.

It seems that not only does the Bible describe a God who is a very poor communicator, but that the Bible itself is communicated very poorly.

It is theologically problematic that Jesus decided not to write anything down. For thousands of years, mistranslations of important Biblical verses have misinformed the masses on even important points, such as whether Jesus' mother was a virgin or not. The Bible has caused endless confusion with the irregularities, inconsistencies and ambiguities of its text. On top of that are the mistranslations, cultural misunderstandings and outright subjectivist attempts at exegesis by those who are genuinely and passionately trying to understand the core text of their religion. It seems that not only does the Bible describe a God who is a very poor communicator, but that the Bible itself is communicated very poorly.

It cannot be the case, therefore, that people need the Bible nor that people have to know the right things, or have the right beliefs, in order to fulfil God's plan. (In-)famous playwright Tim Rice once had this idea, too, and put it to verse...:

You'd have managed Peter better if you'd had it planned
Now why'd you choose such a backward time and such a strange land?
If you'd come today you could have reached a whole nation
Israel in 4 BC had no mass communication!

Jesus Christ Superstar (1971)
Written by Tim Rice

We have seen that God's communication methods in the Bible are portrayed in a highly unclear, indirect and obscure way (at best). Sometimes (such as with Balaam) God seems to be an incompetent communicator. Is there an underlying reason? The answer depends on your notion of God's personality. You see, its poor communication is only a problem if you happen to think that God wants us to know the truth and to believe the right things. What if God wants us to have different beliefs and religions at different times and in different places? Then, God's ambiguous whisperings make more sense.

God's Methods of Communication: Universal Truth Versus Hebrew and ArabicCriticism of the Christian BibleGod Must Be Evil (If It Exists)

If we knew the truth, our existential crises, mental angst and warring world religions would have no grounds to vex. If god revealed itself to everyone, in no unclear terms, there could be no disagreement. But god does not do this. God remains hidden - and if god is the source of any of our world religions, it seems that it is intentionally giving conflicting messages. Saying one set of things to one group of people; appearing as a multitude of gods to others, and appearing not at all to many. These appear to be the tactics not of a god that wants us to understand and unite, but of one that actively encourages division, war, conflict, confusion and stress. [...]

Religions that fight each other tend to make their adherents believe in them even more strongly. Group solidarity comes into effect: when you have enemies, you keep a closer grip on your friends and also reinforce your own group identity. So, an evil God would appear to mankind in a variety of guises and preach a number of powerful, but conflicting, religions. It would therefore create maximum confusion, and maximum suffering, through war and intolerance. It would preach to each religion that its followers were right and other followers were wrong! These groups would all wholeheartedly believe that as God (or, the gods) has revealed the truth to them, other religions must be wrong and ungodly. That way, most of the weak, inferior, pathetic people that the evil god creates would fall foul of one religion or another, and be duped! Once duped, they'd cling to the lies even more the stronger because of the existence of competing religions. An evil God, indeed, would do this, and this is exactly the state the world is in. Coincidence? If there is a God, it is surely evil!

"God Must Be Evil (If It Exists)" by Vexen Crabtree (2003)

If you think it is far-fetched to say that the Christian god intentionally causes confusion and division, and is therefore evil, then perhaps one more story of the Bible will help, from Genesis chapter 11:

1Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2As people moved eastward* they found a plain in Shinar [Babylonia] and settled there. [...]

4Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth."

5But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower the people were building. 6The Lord said, "If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other."

8So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9That is why it was called Babel - because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.

Genesis 11:1-9

Some justifications that mankind was attempting to steal God's power or aiming to be like God (i.e. 'reaching the heavens') don't make sense, as God is all-knowing and would have known that this was impossible to do by building a tower, no matter how high.

If you accept this story as fable and myth, then, it is clear to see that it is the attempt of a primitive people to explain why Humans have different languages. As such, the story isn't really a religious one and ought to be ignored. If you accept that Bible is the Word of God, however, it shows the Christian Biblical God to be the author of confusion and division, just as we already suspected.

5. The Problem of Evil

List pages on the Problem of Evil

If God is all-powerful and all-good, it would have created a universe in the same way it created heaven: with free will for all, no suffering and no evil. But evil and suffering exist. Therefore God does not exist, is not all-powerful or is not benevolent (good). A theodicy is an attempt to explain why a good god would have created evil and suffering. The most popular defence is that it is so Humans could have free will. However the entire universe and the natural world is filled with suffering, violence and destruction so any Humanity-centric explanation does not seem to work.

Arguments that God Must be Evil, by Vexen Crabtree (2003)

The existence of such large quantities of suffering, despair, pain, of natural disasters such as earthquakes, of the death of the unborn and the immense suffering of lovers & kind-hearted people means that god is evil and intentionally creates life in order to create suffering. That all life exists in a food chain means that life is completely tied to death, and such a barbaric biological cycle could only have been made by an evil god. Also, that such a god appears not to exist, or actively hides itself, is a source of confusion, conflict, war and stress and is again more likely the antics of an evil god. Given the state of the natural world, it is impossible that a good god exists. It is more likely that an evil god exists, but, it is sensible to assume that there is no god of either type. Even if there is not a god of either type, as the dominance of death and violence in the natural world, a result of nature being abused by life and not being designed for life, I think the evil symbol of Satan is the best representative of the state of reality and the universe, whether or not an actual evil god exists.

If God did exist and was evil, it would undoubtedly lie and tell everyone it was a good god and that it loved them. It would create maximum confusion by preaching multiple conflicting religions. It would create heaven and make it hard to get to in order to tease and torture people into making their own lives hell. As all of those things happen, if there is a God, it is doing the things an evil God would do!

Once I recognized and accepted this state of affairs and adequately called myself a Satanist, I could concentrate my life on happiness, love, stability and peace. Because I know and understand that death always wins, that life is temporary, I waste no time on short-term whims that reduce my quality of life, or of those around me, and I waste no time with spiritual pipe dreams. Recognizing Satan as the personified meta-figure of reality is self-affirming, life-affirming, positive, honest and clarifying.

"God Must Be Evil (If It Exists): 5. Conclusion" by Vexen Crabtree (2003)

Read / Write Comments

By Vexen Crabtree 2006 Jul 11
Last Updated: 2014 Jan 25
http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/christianity_evilgod.html
Parent page: Christianity

References: (What's this?)

Book Cover

Book Cover

The Bible (NIV). The NIV is the best translation for accuracy whilst maintaining readability. Multiple authors, a compendium of multiple previously published books. I prefer to take quotes from the NIV but where I quote the Bible en masse I must quote from the KJV because it is not copyrighted, whilst the NIV is. [Book Review]

Armstrong, Karen
The Gospel According to Woman: Christianity's Creation of the Sex War in the West (1986). Subtitled "Christianity's Creation of the Sex War in the West". Hardback. Published by Elm Tree Books/Hamish Hamilton Ltd, London, UK.

Ellerbe, Helen
The Dark Side of Christian History (1995). Published by Morningstar & Lark, Windermere, FL, USA.

Footnotes

  1. 2014 Jan 25: Added comments on the story of Job.^
  2. Added to this page on 2006 Dec 20.^
  3. Biblical quotes in the "Fear God" section were originally compiled by Edward O'Toole.^
  4. Tertullianus against Marcion, Book 1, Ch. XXVII. Ante-Nicene Christian Library (Edinburgh: T&T Clark). In Ellerbe (1995) p5.^
  5. Ellerbe (1995) p5. Added to this page on 2011 Oct 18.^
  6. Russell (1946) p335.^
  7. Armstrong (1986) p10-1.^
  8. Added to this page on 2013 Aug 27.^
  9. Lloyd M. Graham, Deceptions and Myths of the Bible (New York: Citadel Press, 1975) 468. In "The Dark Side of Christian History" by Helen Ellerbe (1995) p38. Added to this page on 2011 Oct 24.^
  10. Added to this page on 2013 Jun 22.^

© 2013 Vexen Crabtree. All rights reserved.

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