There is much debate about whether or not the bible is contradictory. But it is not contradiction, it is conflict that the scriptures report. Within the Old Testament, the revelation of a God of infinite love and compassion co-exists with the worship of a wrathful god who demands the annihilation of his enemies and the sacrifice of animals.
Faced with deciding which of these Gods they will worship, men have consistently chosen idolatry. They choose to worship the violent Jehovah who demands retribution for sins committed. They have also chosen to develop the doctrine of vicarious atonement, which is discussed on page 15 of this issue of Humane Religion.
This doctrine claims that the killing of an innocent victim, in place of the guilty party, is pleasing to God. It is a doctrine which encourages the belief that other creatures—human or animal—can be used as the means to an end.
This belief wars against the teachings of the Latter Prophets who said that God wanted mercy, not sacrifice. It is a belief which contradicts the teachings of Jesus, who revealed a God of infinite love and forgiveness. A God more concerned with the oppression of the poor and powerless, than with the rituals and requirements of religion.
It does not take great scholarship or saintliness to
distinguish between the true God and the man-made idol whom men consistently choose to worship. "By their fruits ye shall know them."
Whenever the scriptures teach compassion, mercy, social justice, and service, they speak for God the Creator. But when men are told they can deprive, maim, or murder any other being—human or animal—in the name of God, the words speak for the destructive man-made idol whom men continue to worship. #
|Editor’s Note: We have received a few letters from readers who feel that Humane Religion sometimes assumes a “preachy” tone which they find disconcerting. We do try to avoid assuming that tone, however it is probably inevitable that it will sometimes happen. The years spent as an ordained evangelical minister have taken their toll and becoming “preachy” is an occupational hazard.|