Tuesday, 25 October 2011

A Letter To My Father In Law

The following is a response I sent to my wonderful father-in-law further to recent attempts to encourage me to consider a return to Christianity.

"Hello again Peter. I think I need to apply a little good natured pressure here. You believe that the Bible is a divinely inspired work from the Creator of the universe. Ok then, let's run with this. As soon as you grant this possibility one is left with glaring evidence that God is a very shoddy communicator. His Bible claims the world is less then 10,000 years old, yet we have fourteen independent scientific dating systems that tell us it is circa 13.7 billion years. God tells us that the Earth is flat, when we know that we live on a sphere. He tells us that mankind is distinct from other forms of life, when mitochondrial DNA tells us that we are connected to every other living organism that has walked, crawled, slithered and swam. We even know when specific evolutionary lineages broke off from others, and concerning human ancestry alone we have massive fossil evidence tracing an ancient path back into the cradle of Africa. God is also an abject mathematician, managing to conclude that the value of Pi is three, rather than 3.14.
And let's consider the morality of this Old Testament God. He delights in dashing children's heads against rocks, allows Lot's daughters to be offered to a fevered mob, and specifically commands that entire tribes be brutally killed, and is utterly explicit that failure to comply means punishment for those with the common decency to abstain. Perhaps worst of all is the truly disgusting story of Abraham, whom was bewildered enough to even contemplate immolating a child for the glory of this Deity. And whilst God stayed his hand, it wasn't until a terrified boy was literally on the pyre with his father ready to ignite. You might call that mercy, but I prefer to refer to it by it's correct term, which is child abuse. You'd never offer your children up in this way, because you're a decent, kind, and loving man.
Peter, I cannot allow you an inch here. If the God of the Bible exists he is a brute, a thug, and a pitifully insecure creature. He supports slavery, murders children, and smite's people for crimes as benign as picking up sticks on the sabbath. I can only marvel at the mental gymnastics required to retain the view that Yahweh could ever be deemed as loving and good. It's astonishing, and I say without flinching that you are a million times better than the God you believe in. You, Peter, are a man that I admire for your honesty, your gentleness, and the incredible devotion you have shown to your family. You are the polar opposite of the monster you have grown up knowing about, and I'd suggest that God should spend more time watching how you live because it would make him a better specimen.
If, however, you insist that the God of the Old Testament is real you then have to accept that Jesus was fully complicit in each and every horror that book refers to. So Jesus ordered the murder of those children, along with all the ethnic cleansing and the genital mutilation and the sacrifice. He was present, and he was in for a penny and in for a pound, and to say otherwise is to reject the doctrine of the trinity. So the problems just continue to mount if you truly wish to defend the Old Testament as historically accurate.
I could go on and on and on, but I see no point. I close simply by saying that truth is so important to me I had to reject Christianity. If you wish I can talk at length about the New Testament, and especially the threadbare extra Biblical evidence for the life of Jesus. I can talk about the forgeries, the contradictions, the dreadful morality, and the failed prophecy. I've spent a long time seeking the truth, and when one genuinely does so it is often unsettling and different to what one hopes for. But we must understand that the truth stands apart from any feelings we have. It owes us no comfort or solace or false promise. It is what it is, which is why it's so utterly precious. And ultimately, my desire for truth forced me to consign Christianity to the mass graveyard more commonly referred to as mythology.
With love, respect, and admiration

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