Last month, blogger @AlchemistNon wrote a piece entitled “Is Yahweh a Perfect Being?” in which he argues that the god of conservative Christianity does not exist. The deductive argument he puts forward (based on an argument offered by Christian apologist Randal Rauser in a devil’s-advocate debate) is as follows:
- If God exists, he is perfectly good.
- The deity worshiped by conservative Christians is not perfectly good.
- Therefore, the deity worshiped by conservative Christians is not God.
But a conclusion is only as valid as the premises upon which it is based. The first premise seems fairly straightforward since if God were anything less than perfectly good he could not rightly be called God. But what about the rest? Is the god of conservative Christianity less than perfectly good? Yes, argues @AlchemistNon, and he offers three reasons for thinking this: the god of Christianity endorsed (or, at the very least, tolerated) slavery; he commanded “unjustified slaughter” (i.e. of the Midianites, Canaanites, etc.); and last, he tortures sinners in hell forever. Since none of these are morally good, the god who endorses them would be immoral and therefore not perfectly good. And, if he is not perfectly good, he cannot be considered God. This seems right to me.
Now, someone may object, “But hell isn’t eternal” or “hell doesn’t exist” or “God is only depicted as endorsing slavery” or “the slaughter of the Canaanites never actually happened” or whatever else they want. It doesn’t invalidate the argument per se since @AlchemistNon is arguing against a specific version of God as conceived by conservative Christianity. The King James Only Christianity I grew up in would on all counts be “conservative,” as would the Reformed Christianity I later moved into and would work against those iterations. This argument isn’t for progressive Christianity.
In any event, if you haven’t checked out @AlchemistNon’s blog, you should head over and peruse his stuff. He’s a deep thinker and always challenges me with his writing, especially on philosophy of religion.
Featured image: Wikimedia Commons.