I received several replies to my Cain and Abel piece from someone and because they were long and my own replies got pretty lengthy, I felt a real post was required. Here is my rebuttal to their rebuttal (her comments in red, scripture in blue, my responses in black.)
“God is too wise to be mistaken.”
Who says? God? Did god actually tell you that or are you assuming it because others have told you that’s the case? Tell me… If I were to tell you that I am “too wise to be mistaken”, would you automatically believe it? Or would you expect me to prove myself with actions rather than simple words? If the Bible is to be believed, then there are a variety of instances when god has been wrong. For instance… Throughout the Bible both incest, rape, and slavery are all said to be okay, but then god changed his mind about all of that? How can rape, incest, and slavery be okay according to god in the past, but not now? Could it be because morality isn’t god’s creation and instead is based on what society judges to be moral? Surely if an all powerful, all knowing god created morality it would be forever unchanging. Right?
Even within the most conservative of churches the concept of morality has changed and evolved over time, so you can’t simply claim that morality has always been the same, because it hasn’t. Not one single church still practices morality these days as it was practiced in Jesus’s time. Not one. If they did, those that lead the church would most likely be thrown in jail or into a mental institution.
Besides that… How in the world could it be considered “wise” to sacrifice yourself in some sort of strange blood pact to “save” people when you could just as easily say “I forgive you.” You can’t say “because sin requires death” because according to Christians, god makes all the rules! If god makes all the rules, then he could just as easily have said “All that sin requires to be forgiven is for me to say I forgive you” and that would have been that.
Then, of course, there is the entire issue of god’s creation (man) being flawed anyway. If god is “too wise to be mistaken” then how in the world could he have created a broken world? Why would the destruction of the entire planet have been necessary? Why would the need for “salvation” have even been in the picture?
“God is too good to be unwise.”
Again… Who says? If I walked around wiping out entire civilizations, allowing my friends to rape all the women and young girls, setting wild bears on children, and having my followers sacrifice their children, would you still consider me good simply because I say so? Because if the Bible is to be believed, then god does literally all of those things I listed. Why are human beings held to higher standards than god when it comes to what is considered good? Why is god allowed to murder men, women, and children on a stomach-churning scale and still be considered good in your eyes, but if a normal person did that you’d demand they be executed? How can god permit rape and slavery and still be considered good in your eyes, yet if a normal person did that you’d demand they be thrown in jail? If you truly believe the Bible, then how are all of the atrocities commanded or enacted by god okay with you? How can you stomach it? How can you sit there and with a straight face say “god is good, god is love” when, if the story is to be believed, so many horrific things have been done by him and for him by his followers (with his blessing)?
“When we don’t understand Love, we don’t understand Him.”
Except the fact of the matter is, there are so many people on this earth that understand love far better than the god of the Bible supposedly understands it. God is supposed to be the parent-of-all-parents, but what kind of loving parent would let his or her child die of cancer or AIDS? What kind of parent would willingly stand by and let his or her child be held in a basement to be raped by some sicko for years? What kind of parent would let his or her children die of starvation? I’m not god, and I wouldn’t even let a stranger’s child suffer through that if I could do something to prevent it. I wouldn’t even let my worst enemy suffer that, yet, if he’s real, then god does this every… single… day… and people like you still insist on claiming that he is the ultimate representation of love. If that’s what real love is, then I don’t want it! I’ll take my “bastardized” version of love where I… Strange concept here… Actually care about other people and do my best to help them when they’re in need. You can talk about “free-will” and try and use that as an excuse, but where is the free-will of the baby of a drug addict who also became addicted while in the womb? Where is the free-will of a rape victim? Of someone with cancer? Of someone who had their entire family killed in a freak car accident?
“You are right about God chiding [Abel] but you fail to see that God must be specific in order for him to reject Cain’s offering. God said to Cain, “If you do right [your] offering would be accepted” indicating that there is a right way. If you could offer anything, then God refuses it, then would be unjust.”
Except where does the Bible specify that god laid out any requirements or even asked for an offering? Hint: It doesn’t. Here are the verses in question in case you doubt me:
“Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor.” (Genesis 4:3-5)
In your own words… God must be specific! Otherwise he is unjust; and nowhere is it stated, or even implied, that god laid out some “How do give a proper sacrifice” plan for Cain and Abel to follow. All it says is that Abel kept flocks and Cain worked the soil. As the story goes, they then, out of their desire to please god, brought him an offering out of the work that they both did. God rejected Cain’s offering and praised Abel’s in front of Cain. What kind of loving parent would do this? I don’t have children of my own, but I know that if my artist daughter brought me a picture she painted while my son baked me a cupcake, I’m not going to heap praise on my daughter’s artwork while slapping my son’s cupcake out of his hand while telling him what an awful job he did. They both had their own individual skills, and they both brought a gift in love. Why treat one with disfavor? What good could that possibly serve? You can try and claim that surely god told them the rules, but that isn’t what is stated in the story. The story, as presented, shows us a cruel god playing two brothers against each other for no reason.
“God is just in all his dealing with us, he doesn’t [suppress] anybody. You are a witness to that. He has done no evil to you.”
If it is within your power to help someone in need and refuse, then you’re guilty by inaction. If you see someone brutally murdering a child and you could have stopped them, then that child’s blood is on your hands as well. If god exists, he may not have done any evil to me with his own hands, but he allowed quite a bit of evil to be done to me and to others; evil that, if he truly existed, he easily could have stopped. You can’t claim it’s all because of “free will” either, because that simply doesn’t pan out. Drug addiction, alcoholism, STDs… You can attribute all of those things to “free will” if you want, but you can’t say that cancer, or a baby with AIDS, or a classroom full of children being shot dead, are because of their own free will. Where does their free will come into the picture? Is the life or innocence of a child truly worth so much less than the free will of a murderer or a rapist? How does allowing a single, loving mother of four to die of cancer affect anyone’s free will?
“You are right about God refusing his offering but you failed to acknowledge that there must have been a right way or right offering for God to reject Cain’s offering.”
I don’t acknowledge this because it simply isn’t there. You are implying conditions onto the situation that simply aren’t stated, and if god exists and is truly wise, then he would have stated those conditions simply to make sure someone like me didn’t question it. After all, he is supposed to be all-knowing, right? If that’s true, he would know someone like me would have this question at some point and would have included an explanation in his “Holy Word” wouldn’t he?
“My point in the first post is that love requires freedom of choice.”
Again… Where is the freedom of choice in cancer? Where is the freedom of choice for the child who is molested by an adult? Where is the freedom of choice for a mother who sees her child blown to bits by a bomb in a war-torn country? If god is truly all-powerful then he could easily pluck a child out of danger without violating anyone’s freedom of choice. The “freedom of choice” excuse is a cop-out, nothing more. The ultimate horror is to have an innocent child who happened to be raised in the “wrong” religion, getting raped and murdered, only to wake up in Hell immediately. Because “god is love”? Right? Nothing says “love” like an innocent victim being condemned to an eternity of the worst torture imaginable!
“Once you understand this simple principle, with the help of the Holy Spirit, you can [read] the Bible and understand it. Keep searching the scripture.”
I understand the Bible perfectly fine. The problem here isn’t my understanding. The problem here is with you and those like you. You see a verse that tells a horror story and to make it a little less terrifying you add details to make the bitter pill that is the Bible go down easier. You see a story of an all-powerful / all-knowing being playing a game with the lives of two brothers for no reason? You add some “off-screen” scene to make it seem less terrible. You see that same all-powerful / all-knowing being playing a sick, psychological game with his most loyal servant by demanding he sacrifice his own son, then stopping him last-minute, and to make it more palatable you make up some amazing “lesson” we’re all supposed to have learned that simply wasn’t given in the text.
“The bible requires you to dig for the truth…”
That is exactly why I gave up Christianity. I dug and dug for much of my teenage and adult life and the truth that I found in the Bible is just too horrific for me to believe it serves a good or loving purpose. No loving being would use the Bible as it’s instruction guide.
“A lamb sacrifice was what God asked for.”
God asked for no such thing. God was supposedly given a gift by his two creations that wanted to show him they loved him and instead of accepting them graciously, he praised one and shunned the other, for no good reason.
“It represented a Savior that was promised…”
That is simply a detail you’ve added to make the story less terrible to your conscience. Without that little detail added hundreds of years after the fact, the god presented in Genesis looks kind of like a sadist.
“…by faith Abel offered an excellent sacrifice.”
No… Abel just got lucky that he was the one Adam picked him to work the flocks while Cain was picked to tend the crops. It was luck-of-the-draw, nothing more.
“Hey, I will love it if we could study together. Do you know that hell does not burn for ever?”
If you want to present your rebuttals, I’ll be happy to reply. But the Bible and Christianity have caused too much pain for me for one lifetime. At this point, my only purpose in studying the Bible is to help show others what a terrible book it actually is. If that offends you, then I apologize, but you might want to find another friend to study with. In spite of the differences in our beliefs, I really do wish you the best. Good luck with your own search for truth.