One of the most common disputes non-believers have with Christianity (and I would think Judaism, considering the circumstances) is the depiction of morality in the Bible.
As a Christian, I was constantly reminded that God is special and unlike other gods because he valued fallen sinners. I was taught the bible was honestly written because the book shows imperfect people doing horrible things and still God uses them to bring forth his Perfect Plan™. At the time, I believed this was an amazing, praiseworthy reason to trust what the bible said and to love the so-called Author.
Did I ever take an honest look at the morality of God himself? No. God received a Get Out of Jail Free card because according to my beliefs, he was the source of everything that was good, perfect, loving, and just. If he was the source of morality, then he had to be 100% moral (i.e. good). Any evidence to the contrary had to be based in misunderstandings or closed-minded hatred. There was no ability in my mind to think of myself as more moral than my God. If I was, then why worship him? Why trust him? Why should I give up my life for him if my standards seem to surpass those of the Almighty? I wasn’t able to even consider these questions. I had built a protective wall inside my mind: critical thinking and challenging my assumptions on one side—God and faith on the other.
It wasn’t until after I deconverted from Christianity that I took the time to critique this deity and the depictions of its so-called “goodness” that I had accepted my whole life.
Is God moral?
Many non-theists cite God’s illustrated cruelty and abominable actions in the bible as a main reason why they left the faith. This is often a poking point for Christians who think that if they could show how God is all love and lollipops, these nonbelievers would come running back. It’s fuel for the “You just hate god!” and “If you really had a relationship with him, you’d ___” arguments. (Perhaps) Fortunately for me, I left for other reasons besides disgust at God’s behaviors. But now, as I re-examine the biblical accounts of what God condones, encourages, and does, I can’t deny that I find this deity to be exactly as Richard Dawkins states in The God Delusion:
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all 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.” (Chapter 2, p. 31)
Of course this censure focuses on the Jewish scriptures–The Old Testament–and leaves out the 27 newer and more digestible writings Christians fully endorse. Even so, the scriptures say: God does not change, neither in character nor decision (Malachi 3:6; James 1:17; Numbers 23:19). Thus, what he said once stays forever; and what he wanted, liked, or hated will be the same.
Let’s take a gander at some examples of the morality of this unchanging, perfect deity!
Is this a moral deity worth worshiping? Is this a god worth dying for? You decide.