There is a wisdom among parents that says “don’t threaten anything on which you aren’t willing to follow through.” I don’t know who said it but it is brilliant. I personally try to follow this every day.
The reasoning is pretty straight forward. If you threaten, but don’t follow through if there is a violation, then your threats become meaningless. Just tell a child that you will “leave the store this instant”, but then stay when the behavior continues, and you have proven your word is totally malleable. Children understand this.
Yes, even small children, still learning the world, have already learned that people that say they will do things, yet never follow through, are untrustworthy in their threats. Trust is the key issue, and it is earned by example and repeated demonstration.
Trust is not only about following through on your threats, it also matters that you follow through on your promises. Being there when you say you will be there means a great deal. Would you trust a professional that forgot your appointment? At the very least, it would cast doubt in your mind. It may even be the reason you move your business dealings to another firm.
In any adult relationship, those that constantly make threats yet never follow through are not to be trusted. Those that promise support yet wither away are also not to be trusted. It’s a pretty understandable concept.
Let’s talk about bible god for a bit.
If we were to read the entire bible fresh, what impressions would we have of this god? He starts out of the gate with a threat:
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
Now, I’m sure most of you know the rest of the story. Adam and Eve eat the fruit, and they don’t die. God is starting off bad from the start. And this is despite the fact that god supposedly can’t lie. (Numbers 23:19, 1 Samuel 15:29, 2 Samuel 7:28, Psalm 119:160, Titus 1:2, Hebrews 6:18) Yet there it is, in black and white.
Now, the discerning (fooling themselves) Christian will say “god meant spiritual death” or some such nonsense. But this belies what actually happens when they do eat. First, god said “in the day that you eat”, not “later on down the road.” So it’s a lie. And if god hadn’t lied, he would say “okay, now you’re spirit is dead” or some such thing. But he doesn’t at all. Instead:
16 To the woman he said,
“I will make your pains in childbearing very severe;
with painful labor you will give birth to children.
Your desire will be for your husband,
and he will rule over you.”
17 To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’
“Cursed is the ground because of you;
through painful toil you will eat food from it
all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
and to dust you will return.”
This is not death. This may be unpleasant, but it isn’t death. And my article isn’t about god the dickhead, which he most assuredly is, but about god the liar. God the untrustworthy. God of empty threats.
Who can forget about Abraham? God pulled a fast one on old Abe. He said:
This is a quaint little lie, isn’t it? God “tested” Abraham, whatever that means to an all-knowing being. He didn’t want Abraham to kill his son, but he sure as hell TOLD him to! But god apparently likes these little “test” lies.
In the real world, significant others that constantly “test” you are said to be playing games. They hide their true feelings, and instead pretend something else in order to “test” their partner. This almost never ends well, because of two things. 1) since they are lying about how they really feel, there is no honest conversation, and 2) the “tester” is arbitrarily reading into the actions of their partner as a pass or fail.
In an honest conversation, a spouse saying “go ahead and have fun with your friends” means just that. They are okay with the temporary absence since it gives them time alone or with their friends, or a chance to get something done. In a “test” relationship, the dynamic is completely different. Now you have to play a guessing game. Was that an honest response, or is it a test? If you assume honest and go out, but it was a test, then you are in trouble. But even if it is a test, is the right answer to stay home because you “can’t be apart”, or go out to “respect their time alone”? There are three wrong answers in this scenario, a testament to what happens when someone in a relationship plays the test game.
Yet this is exactly what god does. God is placing himself in the role of the annoying “testing” partner, with no clear, honest communication. What if Abraham said “God, I think you are testing me, and I won’t break your commandment not to kill.” Does he still win? Or does god only consider blind obedience a win?
Naturally, this story is even more grotesque, because it has been attempted to defend the actions of crazy people doing horrible things ever since. This includes all manner of historic torture and war, but in the modern era including a woman that kills all her children, and claims “God” told her to, for example. (Ruled innocent by insanity, by the way. This should tell us something.)
And while those are the more famous lies, the entire books of 1 and 2 Kings are essentially god making up arbitrary rules (tear down a rock pile!), threatening bad stuff if he isn’t obeyed, and then ignoring things for a while. And by a while, I mean a generation or two. Imagine if someone told you they would make your life miserable or kill you if you didn’t do something, but then your ENTIRE LIFE they never bothered to carry through with the threat? I get that god is supposed to be timeless or something, but their ENTIRE LIVES he didn’t bother to enforce his threat! Then one day, the grandchild of some guy suddenly gets screwed over because he’s not doing the thing god told his grandfather to do, and kills him. It goes without saying, this is not an effective leadership model.
Let’s also not forget that bible god is a serial over-promise, under-deliver kind of deity. Jews get their land? Nope, and blames it on some minor infraction. Kings’ prayers answered? Nope. Prophesy come to pass? Nope. And on the New Testament side, just how long is it going to take Christians to realize that their messiah promised the world (heaven, actually), but hasn’t bothered to deliver. If you’re 2,000 years late remembering your anniversary, how do you make it up with your spouse? Asking for a friend……
And then there are the threats that god does enforce, but then apparently later decides aren’t very important. Like what happens if we build skyscrapers. The Genesis 11 god was pretty bent out of shape that people were going to build a tower to heaven. I’ve covered how stupid this concept is in another article, but here I draw attention to the fact that god was very specific about why he felt the need to punish humans.
“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. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”
I have to wonder who god was talking to at that moment. It seems a bit odd that the sole god of the cosmos would be chatting and say “come, let us” to himself. Who else would be “up there” for god to talk to if he’s the only god. Did the bible get edited and some other gods removed??? I digress, that’s a topic for another time. Back to our story.
God didn’t want people to better themselves. Or reach heaven. It’s hard to tell. But whichever thing he was pissed about, the last 130 years or more have been nothing but an explosion of buildings 100 times taller than any mud brick could build, technology beyond anything they could ever imagine, airplanes, rockets, space exploration, and apps that literally translate what you say as you say it. Are we offending god? Who knows, he doesn’t bother to say. “But he will!” the faithful say in brainwashed unison. No, not only do I not believe he will, I believe he’s not even paying attention. And who cares if he does? He’s let my parents, grandparents, great grandparents, and great-great grandparents live full, healthy lives with an ever increasing level of physical elevation and technology. I’ll be long dead before he decides to punish us, assuming he’s even real. (He’s not. Follow the thought process here.)
The same goes for Sodom and Gomorrah. I don’t know all that was going on in those towns, but somehow I can’t believe it was any “worse” than LGBT conventions, swinger meetups, or internet porn.
Bible god is therefore the worst possible mashup of a temperamental dictator, a crazy relationship, and a drunken father. And people wonder why I wouldn’t worship him if he were real.
The Spartan Atheist