As someone that was raised a Christian, I was naturally taught that god loves us, Jesus loves us, and love is being right with god. Many apologists, with their vast reserves of ignorance, have pontificated the idea that God IS love! According to them, the two can not be separated. Without God, there is no love. With love, you have God.
Naturally, this is just stupid. Love is an emotion, not a thing. Just the emotion of love isn’t one single thing, because we all experience love differently and for different reasons and different people. I experience love for my children differently than I do for my parents, which is different for my siblings, different for my closest friends, and different again from my significant other. Far from being a single entity, love is a very, very complex thing.
In the specific example of my significant other, this love is really a mix of a lot of things such as comfort, enjoyment, and yes, carnal lust. For my children, it’s completely different and involves care, pride, and protecting them. But realize that the care, pride, and protection aren’t “separate” emotions from love. I feel one way about my children. I can try to explain it by using terms like care or pride, but ultimately it’s the way I feel about my children, and I call it love. I feel different about my significant other, but I also call it love. I don’t feel 9 different emotions, I feel love, but a different kind of love. Everyone else also calls these slightly different yet distinct emotions “love.” So it’s still love, but it’s not a single, simple thing. And I hope to hell that this Bible God doesn’t love me in the carnal lust sort of way. Yuk.
Let’s use an analogy. Racing is something we all understand. To say “Jessie Owens is racing” is a nice compliment, but it’s also wrong. We all know this, because he actually is not “racing”, he’s Jessie Owens. He just happened to be a great racer. Racing is what he DID, not what he WAS. And we’re only talking about running. There’s also horse racing, car racing, go-cart racing, speed climbing, airplane racing, wheelchair racing, ski racing, etc. Jessie Owens might have been a damned fine runner, but I don’t think he’d have fared well in the Red Bull airplane races.
So just by saying “God is love” in any serious way is to completely not understand what the hell you’re talking about, or to simplify the concept to the point of being a useless word.
But just for fun, let’s ponder for a minute what a deity that was “love” would look like. Personally, I imagine someone that always has a smile. Not a goofy smile, but a sincere, caring, infectious smile. Eyes that are warm and welcome.
A god of pure love would do things in a way that kept you from negative emotions. They would speak gently, as not to upset the person listening. Their words would be comforting and caring. A love god would be supportive of any and all efforts to bond people emotionally. Love god would be patient and explain things in a way that prevented confusion. If Love God needed to make a correction, they would kindly take your hand and explain the problem in a non-judgmental way. They would measure success or failure by how much love the person or community felt.
So, how does Bible God act? Bible God consistently acts in ways that invoke strong negative emotions. The worst emotions, actually, including fear of your very life. His entire system of “love him or go to hell” evokes fear. His orders and petty changes have his followers constantly confused and scrambling. He speaks with a booming voice of ultimate authority, not of care or compassion, expecting his followers to cower before him. He provides shoddy, contradictory orders and information, then leaves for a while, then comes back and punishes with death those that disobey.
How does “God 2.0” (Jesus) act? Sometimes he speaks softly or kindly. His message is clear, however, that his way is the only way. Again, this evokes fear. God 2.0 speaks in confusing parables that are still being argued about to this very day. Anger, frustration, confusion, hatred, and war are the result of his ambiguous words. He promised a quick and timely return, but has had his followers on edge for over 2000 years. This is highly damaging to the emotional state of followers, who are embarrassed by the lack of action, and spend their whole lives trying to defend him against the realists. His followers are praised for facing a life and death in fear and pain, all in his name.
Both Bible God and God 2.0 ultimately measure success by how many people worship them.
Okay, obviously you’ve been adding all that up in your head as you read it. If this were a comparison on Sesame Street, we would easily be able to see that “kind explanation” is NOT the same thing as “booming voice causing cowering”. Out of the 7 sentences in which I provided plausible characteristics of a Love God, Bible God got 0 out of the 7. God 2.0 got 0.5 of 7.
Yes, dear reader, 0.5 out of 7 (in this example) is what an apologist would refer to as “a perfect score.” You may have noticed that they don’t put the bar very high. Hitler would also score a 0.5, because just like God 2.0, Hitler was kind to his girlfriend and his Lebensborn. Just like God 2.0, Hitler detested those that didn’t bow down to him, and used his pulpit to vilify them.
Hell, the “lowly” Greek god Aphrodite exhibits more loving characteristics than Bible God. If two people shared a warm, loving, intimate relationship, that was good enough for old “Aph.” But Bible God will fucking kill you if you do this in a way he doesn’t like. Homosexuality and 2nd marriages come to mind. And let’s not forget that Bible God, the very god apologists say IS love, killed almost 4 dozen children because they called someone bald.
So Bible God clearly is a lot of things, but one thing he absolutely is NOT is a love god. Stacked up to a comparison of any number of qualities of a loving being, it becomes clear that if you wish to live completely opposite of a life of love, Bible God is your man.
The Spartan Atheist