One of the key issues which Christian apologetics attempts to
address is the reconciliation of the wrathful, vengeful, tribal
God of the Old Testament with the God of the New Testament, who
Christians advertise as being the epitome of love.
This particular rationalization also attempts to portray the Quran and Muslims as being representatives of the wrathful Allah, who advocates holy wars. Christians on the other hand, represent the loving, peaceful Jesus.
Where in the New Testament are the "Smite and slay" passages that are the equivalent of such passages in the Quran?
Don't you instead find the exact opposite:
"Love your enemies; pray for those who persecute you; do good to them that hate you" and so on?
The first step in this type of rationalization is to attempt to divorce the New Testament version of God from the Old Testament version. By claiming that God isn't the same "smite and slay" deity in the New Testament that he is in the Old Testament, Christian believers don't have, nor are required to have the same holy war mentality that some Muslims display.
Unfortunately, this attempt to distance God from himself doesn't work if the Bible is to be taken seriously.
The Bible God has no problem exterminating his enemies by his own actions or instructing his followers to do the work for him, in his holy name.
If God, also known as Jesus, wants his enemies destroyed by his human servants, he simply orders it done.
And Joshua did unto them as the LORD bade him: he houghed(hamstrung) their horses, and burnt their chariots with fire.
And Joshua at that time turned back, and took Hazor, and smote the king thereof with the sword: for Hazor beforetime was the head of all those kingdoms.
And they smote all the souls that were therein with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them: there was not any left to breathe: and he burnt Hazor with fire.
And all the cities of those kings, and all the kings of them, did Joshua take, and smote them with the edge of the sword, and he utterly destroyed them, as Moses the servant of the LORD commanded.
The Bible God also gave instructions to his followers regarding what their moral responsibility was. God makes it clear what he wants his followers to do with witches.
Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
Of course, Christians will claim that God isn't like that anymore and the New Testament version of God is much kinder and gentler than his old self.
However, this rationalization is an empty tap dance since God never canceled his law and instruction to his followers about witches, and if God had canceled his moral mandate, he would only be contradicting himself.
Another glaring problem which mainstream Christianity has is that since Jesus is supposed to actually be God, all the Old Testament instructions to smite and slay others who do not worship God come directly from Jesus himself.
If the claims of mainstream Christianity are true, then each and every time God does something, commands something , or instructs anything in the Old Testament, simply insert the word Jesus in place of Jehovah or Yahweh or Lord and you'll have the words of Jesus which are just as valid as anything written in the New Testament.
The Holy Bible clearly declares that God does not change(Mal 3:6), and that he does not change his mind(Num 23:19,and 1 Sam 15:29).
Jesus also doesn't change(Heb 13:8) and is the same at all times.
God's instructions(laws) to his followers are declared to be both perfect(Psa 19:7) and eternal(Psa 119:152,160).
Unless Christians want to claim that God evolves, they're stuck with the same wrathful, vengeful, tribal deity which is so vividly described in the Old Testament. This is the same God who flooded the world, ordered a man killed for picking up sticks on a holy day, killed a man for practicing birth control(Onan), killed a man for touching the ark, and exterminates various people by sending angels to kill them, kills them with fire from heaven, has the earth swallow them, or kills them with plagues.
Further compounding the Christian dilemma is the fact that the New Testament isn't all love as this Christian would like to assert.
The seeds of a holy war mentality are alive and well in the New Testament, although they exist under a toned down version of God's alleged holy character.
2 Cor 10:2-6
But I(Paul) beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.
For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh:
(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.
Although Paul claims that his warfare isn't according to the flesh, the mandate is clear to "bring into captivity" every thought of humans so that everyone will conform to "Jesus".
Of course, Paul deems himself a specially designated mouthpiece to inform humanity on exactly what "Jesus" really wants and commands of all people.
Paul did not tolerate anyone who preached anything different from his version of God's word.
As we said before, so say I(Paul) now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
And Paul had no problem vilifying other groups if they didn't agree with Paul's version of what God was or what God wanted.
Paul declared himself an elect servant of God, and he trashed other groups of people quite easily if they offended him.
Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness;
For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision(Jews):
Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.
This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;
Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.
There isn't any mistaking this type of preaching as anything but hate mongering.
It certainly isn't "love", and it sets the stage quite well for steps to be taken to silence and eliminate these groups of "defiled", "abominable", and "unbelieving" people.
This also leaves the barn door w-i-d-e open for anyone who desires to claim that they represent God's will.
They can then act accordingly by helping God spread his word and silence opposition. If Paul could do it, why not others?
Despite the "love your enemies" oriented sayings which Jesus was supposed to have said, he also exhibited the same ego driven desire for power and worship that the Old Testament tribal deity displayed.
He that is not with me(Jesus) is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.
Jesus, in a parable, demonstrated exactly what he thought of those who didn't want him to be Lord and Master over their lives.
But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
And Jesus again makes it clear what happens to those who "offend" him.
The Son of man(Jesus) shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Jesus will also smite the nations and rule them with the same wrath that the Old Testament God is famous for.
And out of his(Jesus) mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
The statements from Jesus in the New Testament about "praying for your enemies" and "loving your enemies" aren't backed by anything of substance and represent lip service masquerading as "love".
Simple unbelief(Mark 16:16) in Jesus as the ultimate authority of the universe is enough to be classified as an enemy of Jesus.
As previously cited verses clearly show, Jesus isn't going to pray for or love his enemies at all.
Instead, Jesus is going to vent his wrath on them for not worshipping him as King.
Meanwhile, in Christianity, the idea of "holy war" is a symbolic one; as St. Paul says, "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual."
Given the type of zealous rhetoric Paul applied to anyone who didn't recognize his version of God as accurate, it wouldn't be difficult to speculate that if Paul had the resources to wage a holy war, he might very well have done so.
Paul could not wage much of a holy war against the Romans or anyone else. He had neither the military power or the followers to even attempt a serious effort of bringing people and their "every thought to the obedience of Jesus".
But someone might say, "What about the Crusades and such?"
My answer: Many of those who promoted, sponsored, and participated in the Crusades were not true Christians.
The "No True Scotsman" syndrome surfaces in this Christian's comment.
The apologetic rationalization here is that those Christians in history who wiped out their enemies weren't really "true" Christians.
However, this rationalization doesn't work with regard to the Crusades.
The Holy Land, Jerusalem in particular, was occupied by infidels who did not worship the right God.
The instructions of God regarding who should occupy the Holy Land are clear.
When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:
Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.
But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
The Crusaders, being God's people, were doing God's will by taking back the Holy Land in the name of Jesus, in order that his will for the Holy Land to be cleansed of the wicked elements be manifested by their actions.
The Crusaders were restoring and cleansing the Holy Land according to the instructions of Jesus, who is God.
To say that some or most of them weren't "true" Christians, in an effort to dismiss them as representing Christianity, is a superficial and expedient way to rationalize the problem away without having to look at the implications of worshipping a deity who exhibits all the symptoms of being power hungry and ego driven.
The Crusaders were just as much "true" Christians as any Christian living today.
They were doing God's will, as instructed by God, just as Christians today claim they are.
And those who were true Christians, if they approached the physical battles with a mindset consistent with the New Testament, fought as duly-deputized agents of the state; the New Testament makes room for a physical "just war;" it does not have room for a physical "holy war."
This is double talk.
In other words, a "just war" is perfectly in line with the New Testament, while a "holy war" is not.
Since the definition of a "just war" is relative and subject to the personal standards of a believer, any war can be validated as "just" by simply claiming it is.
In the American Civil War, both North and South believed Jesus was on their side and they both had "just" causes.
Southerners were simply defending themselves from the Northern invaders who were trying to impose their will on the South. Both sides claimed their war was "just" and both sides used the New Testament to back their positions.
All the double talk about having a "mindset consistent with the New Testament" means nothing when probed beneath the surface.
The idea that Christians are not to go around committing acts of violence, but instead ought to be peaceful and forgiving -- is /all over/ the New Testament.
As noted earlier, this is an attempt to distance the New Testament version of God from the Old Testament version.
And as already shown, Jesus(God) declared in the Old Testament that various groups of people were to be killed.
Jesus himself will not be peaceful or forgiving when he come back to set up his New World Order where he will be the center of attention and authority.
The "peaceful" and "forgiving" talk is New Testament rhetoric designed to obfuscate the agenda of the New Testament, which was to garner power for it's followers.
Furthermore, the instructions to kill witches were not suggestions that could be ignored by a "true" follower of God who wanted to show his moral responsibility and devotion to God.
God(Jesus) never canceled his earlier command to kill witches and told his followers that they were to obey his law until heaven and earth passed away(Matt 5:18-20).
It was Paul who stated that God's laws no longer needed to be followed(Gal 5:18). Paul was looking for converts to his new religion and potential gentile converts had no interest in obeying Yahweh's laws.
The fact that the Old Testament and New Testament display inconsistencies such as this is evidence that the Holy Bible is not the infallible word of an all powerful cosmic deity.
The New Testament writers grafted their new theology onto the Old Testament to give it an air of established credibility and then proceeded to evolve God into a deity more to their liking.
And according to the New Testament, God is the final executioner of judgment, not humans, where in the Islam religion, people can execute the judgment for non believers in God.
This Christian is attempting to whitewash God's word from the Bible.
In the Holy Bible, believers are urged to take up swords and execute vengeance and punishment on unbelievers.
Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.
Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;
To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people;
To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.
As the scripture clearly states, God's followers have the saintly honor of executing judgment on people.
Since God commanded his followers to execute non believers in the Old Testament, the lack of such explicit commands in the New Testament doesn't change the nature of God.
As the Bible states, God(Jesus) does not evolve or change his mind. The fact that the New Testament portrays a less vengeful and harsh deity does not reconcile the problem in any meaningful way. The end result is the same.
The Bible God, whether it be called Jehovah or Jesus, wants worship and will kill or eternally punish those who offend Him by not recognizing Him as some sort of supreme authority.
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