Is the God of the Old Testament nothing but a bully, a murderer, and an oppressor?
Noted atheist Richard Dawkins thinks so. In his book The God Delusion he claims
“The God of the OT is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.”
– Source: Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, Chapter 2, opening paragraph
Many people, even within the church, seem to agree.
How are Christians to respond to such accusations? And how are we to reconcile the seemingly disconnected natures of God portrayed in the two testaments?
- God is arrogant and unjust
- God punishes people too harshly
- God is guilty of ethnic cleansing
- God oppresses women
- God endorese slavery
- Christianity causes violence
As the book jacket says, Copan not only answers the critics; he also shows how to read both the Old and the New Testaments faithfully, seeing an unchanging, righteous and loving God in both.
The Baker Publishing Group has graciously allowed Apologetics Index to share Chapter 4 of this important book with our readers:
Monumental Rage and Kinglike Jealousy? Understanding the Covenant-Making God
Debate: Is God a moral monster
Before or after reading it you may also want to listen to a debate between Paul Copan and Norman Bacrac on the same topic: Is God a moral monster?
Norman Bacrac is an atheist humanist and part ot the South place Ethical Society. He believes that Old Testament morality was barbaric and we don’t need a God to tell us how to behave. He holds that God’s morality is called into question if we take the Old Testament literally.