Christianity: A Flawed Book, a Bloodthirsty God, and a Mythical Savior?

Posted on June 5, 2020

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By David Ettinger

A Stern Renouncement
A Christian rap entertainer named Jahaziel a few years back renounced His faith in Christ, saying:

I have tasted and seen ­– and my conclusion is that Christianity (its flawed book, bloodthirsty god and mythical savior) i have found unsatisfactory and unworthy of my allegiance or worship unless by threatening to kill me if I don’t ­– as Christianity does.[1]

Are these complaints viable? To many atheists they are. Perhaps you know some of them. If so, how should you handle such accusations without becoming combative, instead desiring to make a dent in the doubter’s flawed thinking. Let’s take a look at Jahaziel’s three areas of grievance.

A Flawed Book
There are two primary problems unbelievers have with the Bible: its “violence” in the form of God-ordained destruction, and what it condemns. The first falls under the heading of “Bloodthirsty God,” so we’ll deal with that in the next section. The second has to do with sin. Many people see the Bible as a book of condemnation and a sponsor of hatred.

When I engage in such conversations, I point to the extraordinary beneficial impact Christianity and the Bible have had on humanity. Besides individual lives changed from bad to good, the Bible has promoted the creation of colleges and universities, hospitals, human-rights institutions, democratic government, social work, and has furthered the study of science. Hardly the offspring of hate!

Also, the Bible teems with noble and inspiring words of compassion, such as:

  • “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
  • “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).
  • “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44).
  • “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).

Such verses may not convert a doubter at once, but they may challenge his perception of what is contained in the Bible.

A Bloodthirsty God
This concerns 1) God’s commandments to Israel to destroy certain enemies, women and children included; and 2) God’s condemning to eternal damnation those who deny Jesus Christ.

In the first instance, when God was establishing Israel as His Chosen people, He wanted a people purified from sin and devoted to Him (Exodus 19:5-6). To achieve this, the land they were to inherit was to be cleansed of sin, which required the destruction of Canaan’s original inhabitants, the Amorites. This may seem cold, but consider that God gave the Amorites 400 years to repent (Genesis 15:15-16). By that time, God had deemed the Amorites – women and children included – as beyond redemption; they would corrupt the Israelites (Deuteronomy 7:1-4). The decree for total destruction applied solely to those in the land; no such decree applied to “far off” nations. Furthermore, the decree was for a limited time in history; wholesale destruction was temporary.

dark-cloud

The second instance – God condemning to eternal damnation those who deny Christ – is a very sensitive topic, but one which cannot be softened. The Bible is clear: Christ is the only way to salvation (John 14:6 and Acts 4:12), and eternal damnation is the consequence for rejecting Christ (John 3:36 and 1 John 5:11-12).

In discussing this emotional subject, keep it personal. Explain that God has a right to do with His creation as He sees fit. You cannot explain WHY God does what He does; only WHAT He does. Explain to the cynic that eternity is a matter solely between him and God. Say something to the effect of: “I can’t tell you WHY God acts as He does, but I can tell you WHAT He is doing for you. He is offering you the opportunity to live with Him for eternity in glory, love, and peace.”

Putting the onus on the individual could stoke further contemplation.

A Mythical Savior
The great legends of myth are heroic figures which conquer armies, fight for justice, and restore order. They are not innocent men who allow themselves to be humiliated, brutalized, nailed to a cross, and endure slow, agonizing deaths for the purpose of bringing salvation to the human race. Many doubters deny Christ’s deity and “ability” to save. What’s the best way to discuss this?

Explaining the Old Testament concept of blood atonement for sin can be a start, but the best thing to do is encourage the cynic to read the account of Christ for himself. I usually say something such as: “If Christ truly is the only way to salvation, wouldn’t it make sense for you to examine this? Read one of the Gospels and determine for yourself if the account is real. If you then want to deny it, at least you know what you are denying.”

Getting a cynic/skeptic to read the account of Christ is the most powerful way (humanly speaking) to help dispel doubt, hostility, and ignorance.

Be Prepared
If I had the opportunity to talk with Jahaziel, I would begin with the points above hoping it would lead to a greater discussion. Ultimately, salvation is the Lord’s mysterious work, and He is giving you the opportunity to play a role in it. Be prepared should God bring a cynic into your life. Know what you would say to him, and always remember that you are not trying to win an argument, but to help lead a soul to Christ. Be patient, calm, and loving. Even if you are cursed out, keep your head and don’t get angry.

Multitudes believe that Christianity consists of nothing more than a flawed book, a bloodthirsty God, and a mythical Savior. Pray that God will bring such people into your life that you may share with them the truth about our perfect Bible, compassionate God, and very real Savior.