Thursday, December 12, 2013

Yahweh vs. other gods

Throughout the Old Testament Jehovah worries incessantly that his people will turn to other gods. As I made my way through the entire Bible for the first time it became increasingly clear that to Jehovah and the Israelites the gods of other nations were taken pretty seriously. Jehovah & Co. weren't so much about converting other people to the one true god as much as defeating the other gods and decimating their followers in a show of strength. A few quick examples of Jehovah out to annihilate might include Moses freeing the Israelites from the Egyptians, the Israelites taking over the land of Canaan, and the story of Elijah calling fire down from the sky to burn his offering.

The Elijah story's a little odd, if you ask me, because Jehovah and Elijah behave so badly. First Elijah insults the prophets of Baal, suggesting that Baal might be busy taking a shit because Baal isn't igniting the wood under their sacrifice. That's when Elijah gets showy and orders people to dowse his alter with water so it would be especially hard to light. And Jehovah's totally cool with this sort of braggart showmanship. He sends down his divine flame to consume the offering, and Elijah gathers all the prophets of Baal and kills them despite their recognition that Jehovah was the true god.

What the hell, right? What about baptizing people and accepting them into your midst after they have seen the truth of your words and have confessed belief in God?

Once again I found myself doubting my beliefs in Jehovah/Jesus the more I read the texts that were supposed to convince me.

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