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God the psycho

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I just had an e-mail from somebody who said: "I hope you find God in 2008" which is a very positive sentiment, and thank you very much for that. However, I hope you're wrong about it, because from what I've heard about God and the way he likes to do things, and particularly the kind of people he tends to attract, all these things have combined to make me hope that he stays as far away from me as humanly, or inhumanly, possible. We are talking, of course, about the god of the desert, the god of death. And we know that all three desert dogmas are variations on the same death cult. And they all worship this same god of supposed love and benevolent mercy, which is presumably why they hate each other with such a violent passion. I don't know, you'd have to ask them that. Collectively they're known as the children of Abraham because Abraham is the original patriarch to whom they all trace themselves back. In fact, without Abraham's influence there's a chance that none of these dogmas would even exist today, which makes me wish that there was some way that I could travel back in time and give him a severe talking to. "You stupid idiot," I'd say, "couldn't you foresee what would happen? "Some prophet you turned out to be." Abraham is the person who originally decided that there would only be one god from here on in. One size fits all - that was his message. And this would have had quite a devastating effect on the god community at the time. All the gods of the rivers and mountains and woods, and so on, the local small specialised gods that had served people so well for generations, they would have suddenly found themselves squeezed out of the picture, or forcibly amalgamated into one giant elemental conglomerate with centralised control, a narrow moral code, and righteous vengeance in its heart. Even to this day it's a matter of some conjecture whether this was the right direction for the human race to take at that particular time. The debate goes on. Appropriately, given the religions that he spawned, Abraham was not particularly noted for his mental stability. He was famously prepared to kill his own son because he heard God telling him to. Fortunately God intervened at the last second and stayed his hand, proving what a just and merciful god he is, if you ignore the severe psychological trauma he's just inflicted on these two unfortunate people. Scarred both of them for life, no question about that. But that's pretty much par for the course, isn't it, for the Old Testament. Everyone ends up scarred, mentally, physically. Hardly anyone comes out of it in one piece. Look at the treatment dished out to Adam and Eve, the very first people on the planet. They were punished for being true to their nature, the very nature that God endowed them with. He knew they were curious, he knew they had to be curious to survive, so he knew that they would eat that apple. A cynical person might start to suspect that God only created us in the first place in order to punish us. Because this is the first lesson we learn in Genesis, that being human is a sin. We were punished and driven from paradise for the sin of being true to our nature, but we pulled ourselves together and we started on the tower of Babel, because we wanted to get up to Heaven and have a look around. We were being curious, doing what comes naturally, but God didn't like that much either, so he punished us by destroying our language. So here we are, we're barely just a few pages into the Bible and already we've taken two massive body blows from our loving and merciful god. Shortly after this he floods the entire planet because somebody must have looked at him the wrong way. He does tip off one person to build a boat, because obviously he doesn't want everyone wiped out, otherwise there'd be nobody left to punish. I can understand somebody reading the Bible for pleasure, because it is arguably a great work of literature; it's certainly an interesting cultural artifact. But it's not the word of God, and it's really time that we stopped pretending that it is, or even that it might be. God is the main character in the book, and if you read it you'll quickly see this. He's an interesting personality, if a little crudely drawn. He's basically an attempt to put a human face on the creative life force. But unfortunately we've saddled him with all our own petty prejudices, and made him a bit too human for our own good. Because one thing I've noticed is that being human really only works for humans. It doesn't transfer at all well to deities. Human gods tend to be wilful, violent and unpredictable in a shallow, ego-driven kind of way. The only thing boundless about them is their eagerness to take offence, like so many of the sensitive souls who worship them. But if you're looking for offence, then look no further than the Bible, surely one of the most offensive books that you could read. Unless you believe that adulterers should be killed, or that it's OK to sell your daughter into slavery, or that anyone who works on the sabbath should be stoned to death on the spot. Maybe you're fine with all that, or with the fact that God repeatedly advocates mass murder. Granted, he doesn't specifically mention cluster bombs and cruise missiles, but no doubt this is where the fine art of biblical interpretation comes in. This guy's got a track record that would make Saddam look like Gandhi. In Deuteronomy 13, according to God, if you hear of a city where another god is worshipped you must kill everybody in that city; men, women, children, babies, even cattle. And then you must burn that city to the ground. Oh, and by the way, thou shalt not kill. So I hope you can see why it is that I have trouble embracing this god of the desert, this god of death that you seem to be so fond of. And I hope you can understand why it is that I want absolutely nothing to do with him, whether he exists or not. I simply don't share his values. I find them to be quite literally inhuman. So I really don't care what he's got to say about anything. And if he came clumping down from Heaven right now in a big pair of hobnailed boots waving the Book of Judges in my face, I'd simply tell him what I tell every other evangelising prick I meet: "No thanks, I'm not interested in your phoney salvation. "I prefer damnation. Now piss off, I've got some sinning to do." Peace, if that's not too blasphemous. Wouldn't want to hurt anybody's precious feelings.

Video Details

Duration: 6 minutes and 34 seconds
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Director: Pat Condell
Views: 44,342
Posted by: patcondell on Feb 2, 2008

The curse of monotheism. You can download an audio version of this video at

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