August 25, 2012

Richard Dawkins: The God of the Old Testament



The God of the Old Testament 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.

The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction:





Jealous -


For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God: Exodus 34:14

Here are some more verses where God brags about his jealousy.
I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.Exodus 20:5

For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.Deuteronomy 4:24

I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.Deuteronomy 5:9

(For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 6:15

The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven. Deuteronomy 29:20

They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. Deuteronomy 32:16

They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation. Deuteronomy 32:21

He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. Joshua 24:19

And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins. 1 Kings 14:22

And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy. Ezekiel 8:3

Then said he unto me, Son of man, lift up thine eyes now the way toward the north. So I lifted up mine eyes the way toward the north, and behold northward at the gate of the altar this image of jealousy in the entry. Ezekiel 8:5

I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy.Ezekiel 16:38

So will I make my fury toward thee to rest, and my jealousy shall depart from thee, and I will be quiet, and will be no more angry.Ezekiel 16:42

And I will set my jealousy against thee, and they shall deal furiously with thee: they shall take away thy nose and thine ears; and thy remnant shall fall by the sword: they shall take thy sons and thy daughters; and thy residue shall be devoured by the fire. Ezekiel 23:25

Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen. Ezekiel 36:5

For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel. Ezekiel 38:19

God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; Nahum 1:2

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy. Zechariah 1:14

Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I was jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury. Zechariah 8:2

All the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.Zephaniah 3:8


Petty -

A golden bell and a pomegranate ... shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the LORD, and when he cometh out, that he die not. Exodus 28:34-35

Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee. Leviticus 19:19

Thou shalt not sacrifice unto the LORD thy God any bullock, or sheep, wherein is blemish, or any evilfavouredness: for that is an abomination unto the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy 17:1

Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together. Deuteronomy 22:11

Thou shalt make thee fringes upon the four quarters of thy vesture, wherewith thou coverest thyself. Deuteronomy 22:12

He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.Deuteronomy 23:1

A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to his tenth generation. Deuteronomy 23:2


Unjust -

If thou refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn. Exodus 4:23

The LORD slew all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of beast. Exodus 13:15

I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.Exodus 20:5

Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers.Isaiah 14:21

See here for a list of Old Testament injustices.


Unforgiving -

He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. Joshua 24:19

Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble. Jeremiah 11:14

When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and an oblation, I will not accept them: but I will consume them by the sword, and by the famine, and by the pestilence. Jeremiah 14:12

Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them. Ezekiel 8:18


Control freak -

But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: ... The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods (hemorrhoids), and with the scab, and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed. The LORD shall smite thee with madness, and blindness, and astonishment of heart: ... Thou shalt betroth a wife, and another man shall lie with her: ... The LORD shall smite thee in the knees, and in the legs, with a sore botch that cannot be healed, from the sole of thy foot unto the top of thy head. ... And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body, the flesh of thy sons and of thy daughters ... The tender and delicate woman among you, which would not adventure to set the sole of her foot upon the ground for delicateness and tenderness, her eye shall be evil toward the husband of her bosom, and toward her son, and toward her daughter, And toward her young one that cometh out from between her feet, and toward her children which she shall bear: for she shall eat them. Deuteronomy 28:15-68


Vindictive -

I kill .. I wound ... I will render vengeance to mine enemies ... I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh. Deuteronomy 32:39-42

He will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries. Deuteronomy 32:43

To me belongeth vengeance and recompence ... for the day of their calamity is at hand. Deuteronomy 32:35

And when the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard it; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed them. Nunbers 11:1

Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine: Jeremiah 11:22

For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood. Jeremiah 46:10

And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, such as they have not heard. Micah 5:15



Bloodthirsty -

And the priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD. Leviticus 4:17

And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. Leviticus 26:29

I kill .. I wound ... I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh. Deuteronomy 32:39-42

But God shall wound the head of his enemies ... That thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the tongue of thy dogs in the same. Psalm 68:21-23

For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter. Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood. Isaiah 34:2-3

For my sword shall be bathed in heaven. Isaiah 34:5

The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, ... their land shall be soaked with blood, ... For it is the day of the LORD's vengeance.Isaiah 34:7-8

And I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken with their own blood, as with sweet wine.Isaiah 49:26

I will ... trample them in my fury; and their blood ... will stain all my raiment. Isaiah 63:2-6

And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend. Jeremiah 19:9

For this is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of his adversaries: and the sword shall devour, and it shall be satiate and made drunk with their blood. Jeremiah 46:10

Cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood. Jeremiah 48:10

Thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood. Ezekiel 39:17

Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth. Ezekiel 39:18

And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. Ezekiel 39:19

And I will bring distress upon men, that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against the LORD: and their blood shall be poured out as dust, and their flesh as the dung.Zephaniah 1:17

See here for a list of Old Testament cruelties.



Ethnic cleanser -

Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. Deuteronomy 13:15

Thus saith the LORD of hosts ... go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. 1 Samuel 15:2-3


Misogynistic -

Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, an do ye to them as is good in your eyes. Genesis 19:8

Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king's son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife. 1 Samuel 18:27

And whosoever lieth carnally with a woman, that is a bondmaid, betrothed to an husband, and not at all redeemed, nor freedom given her; she shall be scourged. Leviticus 19:20

And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.Leviticus 21:9

And Moses said unto them, Have ye saved all the women alive? ... Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him. But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves. Nunbers 31:15-19

And when the LORD thy God hath delivered it into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword: But the women ... shalt thou take unto thyself. Deuteronomy 20:13-14

And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her .... Thou shalt go in unto her. Deuteronomy 21:11-13

If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated ....Deuteronomy 21:15

If any man take a wife, and go in unto her, and hate her ...Deuteronomy 22:13

I took this woman, and when I came to her, I found her not a maid. Then shall the father of the damsel, and her mother, take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel's virginity unto the elders of the city. But if ... the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die. Deuteronomy 22:14-21

If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city. Deuteronomy 22:23-24

When two men strive together on with another, and the wife of the one ... putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her. Deuteronomy 25:11-12

Have they not divided the prey; to every man a damsel or two? Judges 5:30

Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king's son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife. 1 Samuel 18:27

Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. 2 Samuel 12:11

And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the sword; and they shall know that I am the LORD Ezekiel 26:6


Homophobic -

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. Leviticus 18:22

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. Leviticus 20:13



Racist -

One of the children of Israel came and brought unto his brethren a Midianitish woman in the sight of Moses ... And when Phinehas ... saw it, he rose up from among the congregation, and took a javelin in his hand; And he went after the man of Israel into the tent, and thrust both of them through, the man of Israel, and the woman through her belly. So the plague was stayed from the children of Israel. Numbers 25:6-8

The LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. Deuteronomy 7:6

An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the LORD for ever. Deuteronomy 23:3



Infanticidal -

At midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon. Exodus 12:29

Ye shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.Leviticus 26:16

I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children. Leviticus 26:22

And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat. Leviticus 26:29

Because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. ... And the LORD struck the child that Uriah's wife bare unto David, and it was very sick... on the seventh day, that the child died. 2 Samuel 12:14-18

Therefore the fathers shall eat the sons in the midst of thee, and the sons shall eat their fathers. Ezekiel 5:10

And I will cause them to eat the flesh of their sons and the flesh of their daughters, and they shall eat every one the flesh of his friend. Jeremiah 19:9



Genocidal -

Thou shalt surely smite the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, destroying it utterly, and all that is therein, and the cattle thereof, with the edge of the sword. Deuteronomy 13:5

But of the cities of these people, which the LORD thy God doth give thee for an inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth. Deuteronomy 20:16-17

So smote all the country ... he left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the LORD God of Israel commanded. Joshua 10:40

Thus saith the LORD of hosts ... go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass. 1 Samuel 15:2-3filicidal,


And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and ... offer him there for a burnt offering. Genesis 22:2

For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death. Leviticus 20:9

And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.Leviticus 21:9

If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods ... hou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people.Deuteronomy 13:6-10

Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. Psalm 137:9


Pestilential -

And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the LORD was kindled against the people, and the LORD smote the people with a very great plague.Nunbers 11:33

And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Nunbers 21:6

The hand of the LORD was against the city ... and he smote the men of the city, both small and great, and they had emerods in their secret parts. 1 Samuel 5:9

So Gad came to David, and told him, and said unto him, Shall seven years of famine come unto thee in thy land? or wilt thou flee three months before thine enemies, while they pursue thee? or that there be three days' pestilence in thy land? ... So the LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel ... and there died of the people ... seventy thousand men. 2 Samuel 24:13

So will I send upon you famine and evil beasts, and they shall bereave thee: and pestilence and blood shall pass through thee; and I will bring the sword upon thee. I the LORD have spoken it.Ezekiel 5:17megalomaniacal,


Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet. And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly. 2 Samuel 22:8-11

Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD. Ezekiel 38:23


Sadomasochistic -

Thou shalt even drink it and suck it out, and thou shalt break the sherds thereof, and pluck off thine own breasts: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 23:34capriciously malevolent


Slay utterly old and young, both maids, and little children, and women: but come not near any man upon whom is the mark ... fill the courts with the slain: go ye forth. And they went forth, and slew in the city. Ezekiel 9:4-7

Therefore will I also deal in fury: mine eye shall not spare, neither will I have pity: and though they cry in mine ears with a loud voice, yet will I not hear them. Ezekiel 8:18

And the cities that are inhabited shall be laid waste, and the land shall be desolate; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. Ezekiel 12:20bully.
And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the LORD: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy. Jeremiah 15:3

And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my mountains, saith the Lord GOD: every man's sword shall be against his brother. And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the LORD. Ezekiel 38:21-23

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