Apologeet.nlThe God Delusion #1
#1 God Must be Horrible: Jealous, Petty, Unjust, Unforgiving, Control-freak
I believe it was 2006 that Mr Dawkins published his book, the God Delusion. I have never paid to much attention to his writings simply because I thought the hype would die a fast and silent death. His book isn’t, what you would call, a very sophisticated philosophical book. It is smoothly written, but it lacks a lot, philosophical speaking. Anyway, I was wrong about the dying stuff. Many still love his audacious mantra with which Dawkins starts the second chapter:i
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all of fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
I have always wondered what one could answer this foolish but immensely popular statement given by Mr. Dawkins in his equally foolish book, the God Delusion. Sceptics, Atheists, and many un-believers love these kins of rhetoric. It sounds so challenging! It sounds tough. But, in reality it gives away a total misunderstanding of the Biblical God. Minster Dawkins might know a thing or two about biology, but theologically speaking, he fails big time.
So, let’s discuss a few of these titles he so boastfully assigned to the God of the Bible. Let’s see what we can say about it without going into endless debates.
We will start with the very first title: Jealous.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God […]
And there are many more texts in which we hear that God is actually jealous. But what is this jealousy all about? The Hebrew used for the word ‘jealous’ here is qanna ( קַנָּא ). This word has an extra meaning which is best translated as ‘zealous.’ In other words, God cares passionately about His people, His creation. He does not want us to fall into the trap of the boundage of another so-called god.
The apostle Paul shows this passionate jealousy in his second letter to the Corinthians.
2 Corinthians 11:2
I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy because I have promised you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.
All of those jealousy statements from God are in the context of infidelity and are statements of a broken heart. The Merriam Webster dictionary explains infidelity as the act or fact of having a romantic or sexual relationship with someone other than one’s husband, wife, or partner.
So, we are not talking about a childish god who wants to have that one toy some other kid happen to have. No, in fact it is a jealousy a husband should have when he sees his wife flirting with another man. Or maybe even when another guy starts flirting with your wife. I would not accept that… Would you?
A petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak
Petty means ‘small and of little importance.’ With this word, the author gives away his own boastful attitude. If one thinks of the Creator of the universe as a petty personality, I believe that person should pay a visit to an honest psychiatrist. Really! It is one thing to downplay the Creator’s character, but to think of Him as a nitwit?
I know the author meant to say that God is over-sensitive when it comes to sin. The author says that a petty God makes for petty worshippers. Speaking of early Christians’ preoccupation with sin, Dawkins writes,ii
They could have devoted their pages and their sermons to extolling the sky splashed with stars, or mountains and green forests, seas and dawn choruses. These are occasionally mentioned, but the Christian focus is overwhelmingly on sin sin sin sin sin sin sin. What a nasty little preoccupation to have dominating your life.
Part of our problem is we have a view of God where we just make God to be like a big person. We might think He is just like us, but He just isn’t, is He? If you’re going to study this, you’ll see that God is very different from us. Whatever the view of God is we have in our mind, it’s in some way inadequate.
Also, the idea that God is behaving over-sensitive concerning sin, gives away that there is no real understanding about the gravity of sin. Many people look at sin as something we shouldn’t pay attention to. If I don’t pay attention your sin, you might end up thinking it is just trivial. But that kind of thinking has brought humankind in this depraved position in the first place. God has seen it unfolding, He has been the witness of our petty thinking concerning sin. He also knows how sin ruins everything.
We are quick to blame others for the things that happen to us. But Jeremiah 17:9 sums it up:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
Anyway, let’s move on. Unjust? Why would someone think that God is unjust when He says that the wicked will be punished? How often I have heard people say that ‘if God is just, He would have made an end to all misery.’ My usual responds is to ask that person what that action would entail. Most God make an end to all lies, sexual misbehaviour, anger, all poverty? Most He make an end to all bad things? If so, where would you stand on that very same criteria you just created yourself? You never lie, cheat, have sexual fantasies? You never cursed? Or never behaved like a jerk towards others? Just count your blessings that God is long-suffering, not willing that any will perish.
Let’s assume you are married to the most wonderful woman or man in the world. Now, your spouse decides to sleep the night in the same bed as the post deliverer. Even worst, he or she takes the new partner to your own house and he or she starts to use your own bed! All this happens right in front of your eyes and that of your children. Can I safely assume that you are going to have some trouble forgiving?
We, humans, have been like this adulterous man or woman towards our Creator. We’ve done it right in front of His eyes. We actually used all that is rightfully His for our own pleasures. However, God didn’t abandon us in an unforgiving wrath. No, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to offer a way out of this corrupt situation. Only haughty people would dare to say He is unforgiving.
I guess, I am a control-freak as well. We, my wife and I with our five children, have lived in a very remote village for five years. No good source of clean drinking water, no proper road out of the area, no vegetables to be found nearby. It was remote!
Every time, we travelled to the capital city, I took the opportunity to get the car to a good garage. I needed to be able to rely on my strong 4×4 to get in and out of our area. Also, we’ve made sure we had enough medicine with us when we returned. A medical kid complete with surgical knives and good anaesthetics. Finally, we also tried to bring back as many vegetables as possible.
My children and my wife depended on me for this simple, but very important strategy. Does this make me a control-freak? Definitely yes! I know what is good for my family, and it would be a huge sin to neglect that knowledge.
So, how about the Creator of heaven and earth? Would He know a thing or two about what is good for us? I would say so! Still, some would say that God shouldn’t intervene with our lives. These same people, on the other hand, will do everything to protect their own families, right? How hypocritical!
To Sum it all up
This was just the first part of this quote. I don’t want to make the video too long, so I’ll tackle the next bit next time. I have no intention to give Dawkins or his followers platform on my channel. I am not going to debate with the atheists who love this book, I just don’t.
Still, I think it is good to talk about these kinds of atheistic mantras. Not so much to ‘win’ the debate with an atheist. Many of them have dug themselves in and have no intention to butch whatsoever. But, maybe you colleague, your sports mate, or maybe a family member has heard this kind of talk and is wondering how much of it is true. Maybe, you yourself are a little overwhelmed by these words? Then, it is good to have this chat. To see what the possible answers can be. To learn how wonderful God actually is!
Anyway! Do let me know your thoughts in the comments of the video or article below. Remember! I am mostly active on my Odysee channel. You’ll find a link to that channel in the description of this video.
I very much appreciate your prayers and support! Please take a look in the description of this video to find out how you can help me. Also, I’ll place a link there to both the Dutch and English transcripts of this video. And finally, you’ll find the links to the other videos I’ve made about this topic… All, in the same description. Isn’t that convenient?
God bless you, thank you for watching, and let’s see how we approach the rest of Dawkins quote in the next video!
i Dawkins, R., The God Delusion, Bantam Press, London, 2006, p.31.
ii Ibid, pp.251-252