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Letter to the Editor – Response to Allison Chase

In her Oct. 21 editorial, Alison Chase said the Christian God “is love”.  In fact, he is anything but.  A cursory reading of the Old Testament is proof enough.  In it he kills men, women and children alike. He tells those under his command to commit genocide and take young girls as sex slaves.  Is this really the God of this world?

In her piece, she excoriates Brother Jed, but then acknowledges the worst of what he said is true, eternal damnation.  We didn’t all grow up in the environment that Allison did. We didn’t all get baptized as young children, knowing nothing else but Christianity.  Some of us were raised without a religion and had to do our own search for truth with no parental guidance.  This led us to explore and question all religions.  When you witness these religions as an outsider, you are able to see things that the adherents don’t see.

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In my 10 year search for truth, I explored Christianity more intensely than any of the other religions because it is the prevailing religion.  The bloodshed committed by the God of the old testament, the talk of eternal torture by the Messiah in the New Testament, and the historical record of atrocities committed by the Church were enough for me to rule out the God of the Bible as the one true God.  God must be moral, God must be just, and God must be LOVE.  Allison’s God is none of these things.

Joel Ricklefs is a CSU masters student.

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  • K

    kentMar 25, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Well, I am submitting this response to your letter 3 years later partly because I am trying to answer this question for myself. Also Allison Chase’s original comments were better than my weak response, and because I recently heard someone saying basically the same thing. And I borrowed most of the good points about the Israelites “conquest” of the land of Canaan from someone i know.

    I do think you give God credit for things He was not involved with, but I will try to address whether God is a loving God or immoral and unjust (taking satisfaction in killing innocent people).

    I think we may judge God unfairly. So, I will start with a general approach partly based on the “Tig” (Tigger) philosophy. He was a guy I worked with who was kind of a hyper guy, bouncing around, but he said, no matter how I act, just remember that I am on your side. He was probably one of the best guys I worked with and he did do some strange things but I trusted him and what he said, so I did believe he was on my side.

    If I further my 3 year old comment about a parent, I think we need to consider God in context of a relationship because He does refer to Himself as Father and uses the comparison of husband and wife. So, what would be your ideal father. To some he would be firm, protector, strong, inspirational like a coach. To another he would be caring, affectionate, kind, encourager. So, if you take a snapshot, one day he could be giving you a hug and putting a band-aide on you knee, the next day he could be yelling at you to “get out of the street”. The first day an observer would say he is a loving person, the next day a different observer might say that guy has an anger issue.

    So, Allison is right, His over-ridding character is love, there is a verse that says God is love. But God is also true and just. If you are going to “believe” the stories about “genocide” you also need to believe that He is loving, true, just, all knowing. He is way more than the perfect father or husband. That is where the context of relationship and our judgment needs to come in. A friend, spouse or a parent may do something we may not agree with, but we can still believe they love us.

    Could you see a possibility for ever sentencing someone to death? If you had a time machine, would you take out Hitler or all the Nazi leaders. Does removing the leaders of ISIS or the Taliban stop the killing or do you also need to do something with the followers also? Is America a warmonger nation because people died in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and world wars, or were they fighting for an ideology of freedom?

    Here again I ask you, do you judge God unfairly? Would you let the world be completely overtaken by greed, selfishness, hate, and lies or would you take drastic and painful measures to give people the choice of truth and love?

    If we put it back into context of relationship, you are married with a son and a daughter. Your son starts stealing from you and yelling hateful things. You probably don’t send him to the police, but if he rapes your daughter and kills your wife, you may decide that serious consequences are in order. Do you do this with a smile on your face with happiness as you turn him over to the police (which is basically
    what you are accusing God of) or do you do it with a heavy heart?

    So, lets be more specific. I will only address one story of “genocide” in the bible using a filter of God as loving, just, true, and all knowing. Consider the “battle” of Jericho that many are familiar with. At
    first glance it looks like God killed men, women, and children, innocent and guilty alike. God did identify a specific area in the world to give to the children of Israel. People in these areas had religious practices that included sacrificing their children to their “gods” among other things.

    This is where we need to consider, in God’s economy, is death the ultimate loss or is living a life full of lies? An innocent child living in the land of Canaan, since I believe God is just, would it be better for them to die in their innocence and go to heaven, or be corrupted and possibly be used as a sex slave in their temple? Should the women be saved and allowed to marry and share their thinking with their families? Should all men be killed just because they are men? How would an innocent child respond to the Israelites if there parents were killed or would they be better off just taken to heaven?

    Better yet, were there any innocent left in Jericho when the Israelites arrived? I think people in Canaan may have been exposed to the truth based on previous biblical events, but preferred to go their own way. If not, the Israel spies did find from Rahab the harlot who lived in Jericho, these people were well aware of what was coming and in fact they had 40 years to prepare. She said that they knew about their exodus from Egypt and how God had delivered them and they were in fear. Even in those days, 40 years was adequate time for people to relocate. The children of Israel were instructed to drive people out not necessarily kill them.

    Maybe after 40 years of knowing the the Israelites were coming they thought it was not going to happen. But instead of a surprise attack, God tells them to march around the city for 7 days blowing trumpets. Ok, so maybe they did not see them, God has them blow trumpets and essentially say, “WE
    ARE HERE!” That should have given the people in Jericho plenty of time to leave! After the “battle” of Jericho were God basically crumbles strong fortress, the people in the land of Canaan should have been aware of what was coming. They had a very clear choice of either leaving or fighting against God.

    We also know that God was not intent on mass murder. He identified a specific area that took a number of years before Israel was able to take control of. God did not give Israel an imperialistic order, “Go, conquer the whole world, kill all non-believers, and establish my kingdom throughout the world.

    In fact, years later, God allows the land of Israel including Solomon’s Temple to be totally destroyed. He compares Israel to a adulterous wife (once again, God puts it in context of a relationship). He chastises them for going after other gods, but also primarily for unjust treatment of widows, orphans, and foreigners.

    He allows them to return to the land of Canaan, but only under the rule of another government. Now you may see that His purpose was not to murder people (he appears to be very unsuccessful). I think it was more so to reveal himself and truth through His chosen people. Jesus was born, in the nation of Israel, yet strangely enough, under Roman rule. The Israelites believed their messiah would come and deliver them from the Romans. Instead Jesus revealed God to us and what Paul refers to as a mystery, God inviting both Jews and Gentiles to be His children.

    I would say that now that the “mystery” has been revealed, there is no directive for christians or Israel to establish a worldly kingdom by force. Jesus said, “What can I compare God’s kingdom with? It is like yeast that a woman took and hid in a large tub of flour until it made all the dough rise.” It seems to be a message of His truth affecting many people rather than one of force. People can clearly see the truth as Jesus preached, “the kingdom of God is at hand” and “My kingdom is not of this world”.

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