I often refer to Jewish, Christian, and Muslim beliefs as Abrahamics. This often goes right over the heads of most people with whom I discuss belief and doubt. No one challenges me on it, but no one really seems to dwell on it either. I think if a Believer were to meditate on the story of Abraham, it would make them think twice about continuing to believe such utter malarkey.
Abraham was the first true Believer of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic god. He gave birth to two sons; Issac and Ishmael. Issac is the alleged ancestor of all Jews and Ishmael is allegedly the ancestor of all Muslims. This is of course not including people who are converted into the faith and their offspring. There’s allegedly a legitimate blood line that the Bible traces from Adam to Abraham through several characters in the bible including Moses and David and Solomon and eventually reaching Jesus. Likewise a similar claim is made from Ishmael’s blood line down through the ages to the prophet Muhammad from whom Islam stems. So all three orthodox religions and their many variants and denominations originate from Abraham.
One day God tells Abraham to sacrifice Issac on an altar. Abraham tries to go through with God’s command because he loves and fears his god but he also loves and cherishes his son, so he’s torn and conflicted and he goes so far as to put his kid up on an altar and raises his knife but just before he gets to the point of no return, he notices a goat nearby that’s got itself stuck on some thorny bushes. Abraham gets the goat and uses it to sacrifice to his god instead of his son, and for some reason God is cool with that.
This is used by Believers (Christians to be specific. Jews and Muslims like Jesus, but fall short of accepting the son of a god thing) as a foreshadowing of the day when God himself will sacrifice Jesus to save everyone from sin, which God actually does without backing out at the last second like Abraham did. Now, Muslims may think they’re off the hook here cuz their bloodline is through Ishmael and has nothing to do with Issac but they’d be wrong. This is the same god. IF there is only One True God, then the entire story of Abraham applies to all Abrahamic religions.
If a Believer were to contemplate this story, and meditate on it, I can’t help but think they would eventually have to choose atheism. Please understand I’m not saying this because I’m trying to convert Believers. I’m saying this cuz only idiots (and charlatans) believe this story actually happened. You can go right on ahead and continue to be an idiot (or a charlatan) but just know I’m that kid pointing at the emperor wearing no clothes and thinking its silk.
First off, the only evidence we have that Abraham existed at all is the Bible. Since it was so long ago, we have no way to corroborate much of what is said in the Bible from external sources that could not have been manufactured artificially by man. In order to believe Abraham ever existed, you have to accept the bible itself as inerrant, and I have illuminated in previous blog posts why that’s foolhardy.
However, lets give the benefit of the doubt here for just a moment. Let’s pretend Abraham existed, and let’s pretend Abraham’s god existed. Why would you want to worship a deity that requires this of his followers? Why would anyone want to laud and honor a sentient creature which claims to be all powerful, yet purposefully limits its own power by demanding a follower kill its own flesh and blood to please Him? Presumably this god is powerful enough to just kill whatever he wants when he wants. Why make Abraham do it? Why pretend to cherish such a blatant arrogant bully?
Abraham was a true Believer, and the scripture gives no indication Abraham ever did anything to cause his god to distrust him or feel it necessary to challenge Abraham’s sincerity. In fact it goes so far as to say God loved Abraham, so why would someone demand a friend do such a heinous act? Also this is allegedly an omniscient or all-knowing god. If this god character knew Abraham was never going to kill Issac anyway, why put his first and most ardent follower through such turmoil and pain? Couldn’t an omniscient and omnipotent god find a better way to teach life lessons to his followers than put them through conflict and suffering? Even if this god exists, why would you worship and support such a petty and sadistic bastard?
What if you woke up one day and a god-like voice tells you to take a small child (if you have children, assume its your first born) and sacrifice it to him. Would you do it? Would you sacrifice your own flesh and blood to appease your god? If you would not, then you’re not really a Believer. If you would, then you are the sort of religious zealot that freaks me out.
All powerful means just that. An all powerful god can do shit himself. He wouldn’t need to command his followers do horrible things for him, unless he was a sadistic bastard. So not only is this god immoral, but he’s not all-powerful, and he needs his followers to do all the nasty work for him, arguing that he sacrificed his own son blah blah blah and isn’t that enough? Well, not if Believers don’t believe that, and Jews and Muslims don’t. So. No, it’s not enough. And even for Christians, this is a guilt trip. It’s like a mother whining about how she had to carry you around in her body for eight months every time you don’t want to do something for her. But what a mother has to do for you, that’s a valid argument. Blood sacrifice is totally different, and if any god demands human sacrifice to appease him, that’s a god that does not deserve to be worshiped. And why do I say that? Well, because we know human sacrifice doesn’t work. It has zero magical properties. It has no properties of any kind that have been confirmed scientifically to matter in the least. It’s not that at one time long ago blood sacrifice had some kind of magical power, but it doesn’t anymore. Ritual killing NEVER had any significance or validity, and yet people did it anyway, cuz they believed they were told to do so by their imaginary friend.
So even if there were an Abrahamic god, the story of Abraham and his sons shows us that the Abrahamic god is not a god that’s on the side of humanity. I know you’ve been told we shouldn’t question god’s mysterious plan and he’s just out to help us for our own good, but it’s a god that demanded human sacrifice of Abraham’s own flesh and blood. That’s simply not something that should be encouraged or lauded or respected in any way. Anyone who would kill their own child or the child of a friend cuz a voice in his head said to do it, needs to have their head examined, and this is just one of billions of reasons why faith and belief should not trump seeking factual evidence and confirming such discoveries through objective verifiable means.
Frankly, if you would go along with the demands of such a god no matter how dangerous, ludicrous, and anti-human they might be, I gotta question your sanity, and I gotta tell you that realization that some Believers are that far gone, has me more than just a little concerned. It’s much more likely that if Abraham ever lived at all, he was mentally unstable and suffered from episodes temporary insanity in which he heard voices that told him to kill his own flesh and blood. He believed in a god that never stepped outside of his mind. That’s a far more rational explanation, which doesn’t take blind faith to accept.
An early Christian apologist named Tertullian once argued that the story of Creation and indeed the Holy Bible overall spoke of events that must be certain because they are so absurd. “It is certain because it is impossible.. It is wholly credible because it is so unsuitable.” The idea is that some of these tales are so outrageous that they could not have possibly been made up. They must be true, and Tertullian insists we shouldn’t question the validity of the story but accept it as factual.
I say that argument is absurd, anyone who would perpetuate that argument must either be ignorant or charlatans, and I honestly can’t tell which is which. So go right on ahead and continue believing this malarkey, cuz I find no end of entertainment from this. Just please stop using this madness in government legislation or scholastic endeavors, cuz that’s when your stupidity starts hurting others, and I can’t find a punchline for that.