Chapter

The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

Curley Edwin

in Divine Evil?

Published in print November 2010 | ISBN: 9780199576739
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595165 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199576739.003.0006
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

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This chapter argues that the moral character of God, as portrayed in the Scriptures he is supposed to have inspired, is a reasonable test of the claim that those Scriptures convey a divine revelation. The Christian Scriptures (the ‘Old’ Testament and the New) fail the test. They frequently represent God as authorizing bad conduct. He commands child sacrifice and genocide. He permits slavery and rape. This is only a partial list of passages which make it incredible that the morally perfect being of Christian theology could have inspired the Bible. Also problematic: the Bible contradicts itself about how God will treat his creatures after death, sometimes denying an afterlife, sometimes affirming it; when it affirms an afterlife, it threatens those who do not believe with eternal punishment. Better to give up the hypothesis of divine inspiration than to corrupt our moral thinking by trying to defend the indefensible.

Keywords: moral character of God; inspiration; revelation; child sacrifice; genocide; slavery; rape; afterlife; eternal punishment

Chapter.  10853 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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