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The ethics of worship
#1
The ethics of worship
This thread was deleted by the mods on Christianforums.com, although they did not punish my account. I didn't get the opportunity to get feedback from Christians.

Moses was unable to lead his people out of Egypt until Jehovah sent his tenth and final plague: the death of the firstborn son. Jehovah was already a child-killing god since he had sent the flood to kill nearly all life indiscriminately, but the tenth plague of Egypt actually depicts Jehovah targeting children. From that moment, Jehovah gained his reputation as a warlord deity.

However, during times of peace and prosperity, there is no need to worship a warlord deity. The Jews wasted no time constructing an idol, doing so before even reaching the promised land. Later on, they would worship Ashtaroth, the fertility goddess, instead of their old child-killing god, because they needed to flourish. Others also worshiped Baal.

Molech was particularly hated because his followers burned their children alive in sacrifice to this deity, and Jehovah said that such a practice is abominable. In fact, the genocides perpetrated by Joshua are actually justified by some apologists because the followers of Molech engaged in these practices. Why is it ethical to worship a child-killing god, but yet it is unethical to worship a god who demands children as sacrifice?

Some would say that it doesn't matter how "moral" fake gods are or how "immoral" the one true god seems to be. The "fact" that Jehovah is the creator of the universe is sufficient reasoning for us to worship him. I still have not seen anyone provide such actual reasoning, and further, this does assert the point in question. If the followers of Molech genuinely believe that their deity created the universe, then are they not morally justified in worshiping such a deity by the same reasoning?

Ethics are based entirely upon intent, not upon what is actually true. For example, a police officer could justify shooting someone if that person was quickly reaching into their jacket pocket, even if it turned out to be just a candy bar they were going after. Conversely, a police officer who shoots someone without provocation would be a murderer, even if the person they shot actually was secretly planning on committing a serious violent crime. So if the criteria for ethical worship is that the object of worship must be the creator of the universe, then many other religions aside from Christianity can claim to be ethical in this regard.

Whether or not a certain deity created the universe, as a matter of fact and not as a matter of personal faith, is a question for apologetics. Do the ethics of worship come down to apologetics? If so, then Christians have largely bungled this pretty badly. If not, then Jehovah fails to separate himself from many other deities who also claim to have created the universe. So by what other criteria is it ethical to worship a child-killing god such as Jehovah?

Another issue is the apparent disconnect between ancient people and modern Christians. During my time as a Christian, I very much got the sense that no real Christian would accept a cash payment to bow down and worship, say, a statue of the Buddha. No amount would suffice. Not even a gun to the head would do it, and many of these Christians would not even claim to have experienced anything supernatural in their entire lives. Yet ancient Jews worshiped other gods all the time, despite apparently witnessing their god perform miracles with their very own eyes. How can this possibly happen?
Jesus is like Pinocchio.  He's the bastard son of a carpenter. And a liar. And he wishes he was real.
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#2
RE: The ethics of worship
One relatively minor quibble.  The tenth plague did not specifically target children, it targeted the 'firstborn sons'.  If, for example, a man has three sons, one 25 years old, one 15 years old, and an infant, the adult son would be the one to die and the infant would be spared.

Other than that, it's hard to disagree that it's unethical to worship the God of the OT.

Boru
‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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#3
RE: The ethics of worship
Why does a god need to be worshiped? What does he/it get out of it?
The meek shall inherit the Earth, the rest of us will fly to the stars.

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#4
RE: The ethics of worship
(September 11, 2020 at 7:57 am)zebo-the-fat Wrote: Why does a god need to be worshiped?  What does he/it get out of it?

Well, God needs a starship, so I suppose worship is in the same category. Smile

Boru
‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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#5
RE: The ethics of worship
(September 10, 2020 at 9:45 pm)Nihilist Virus Wrote: Another issue is the apparent disconnect between ancient people and modern Christians. During my time as a Christian, I very much got the sense that no real Christian would accept a cash payment to bow down and worship, say, a statue of the Buddha. No amount would suffice. Not even a gun to the head would do it, and many of these Christians would not even claim to have experienced anything supernatural in their entire lives. Yet ancient Jews worshiped other gods all the time, despite apparently witnessing their god perform miracles with their very own eyes. How can this possibly happen?

When I was a Christian, I found it inconceivable that God actually "did things" in OT times, but didn't do things now.  I quickly realized that when the bible says "God did X", it just means "X happened, and the writer attributed it to God".

If you read things that way, the only question you need to ask is "why did the writer attribute this event to God?", or "why did the writer invent this story that they attributed to God".

The answer reveals something about the theology of the writer, but tells you nothing about any actual gods (if they exist).  It tells you what the writer needs out of their tribal god, at the time.
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#6
RE: The ethics of worship
To date, of all the Christians that I've posed this to (on FaceBook, in real life, and the brief period this was up on Christianforums.com), I've seen only one of them actually admit that "Yes, I worship a child-killing god." They can't even let the words come out of their mouths.

To worship a child-killing god out of fear is pitiful, but to worship a child-killing god out of adoration is sick.

(September 11, 2020 at 7:09 am)BrianSoddingBoru4 Wrote: One relatively minor quibble.  The tenth plague did not specifically target children, it targeted the 'firstborn sons'.  If, for example, a man has three sons, one 25 years old, one 15 years old, and an infant, the adult son would be the one to die and the infant would be spared.

Other than that, it's hard to disagree that it's unethical to worship the God of the OT.

Boru

Well I think it did target children, and adult first borns were collateral damage. It's rare even today for siblings to be 25 years apart, so I find that to be quite unlikely to occur back when life expectancy was on the order of 40 years.

(September 11, 2020 at 11:34 am)HappySkeptic Wrote:
(September 10, 2020 at 9:45 pm)Nihilist Virus Wrote: Another issue is the apparent disconnect between ancient people and modern Christians. During my time as a Christian, I very much got the sense that no real Christian would accept a cash payment to bow down and worship, say, a statue of the Buddha. No amount would suffice. Not even a gun to the head would do it, and many of these Christians would not even claim to have experienced anything supernatural in their entire lives. Yet ancient Jews worshiped other gods all the time, despite apparently witnessing their god perform miracles with their very own eyes. How can this possibly happen?

When I was a Christian, I found it inconceivable that God actually "did things" in OT times, but didn't do things now.  I quickly realized that when the bible says "God did X", it just means "X happened, and the writer attributed it to God".

If you read things that way, the only question you need to ask is "why did the writer attribute this event to God?", or "why did the writer invent this story that they attributed to God".

The answer reveals something about the theology of the writer, but tells you nothing about any actual gods (if they exist).  It tells you what the writer needs out of their tribal god, at the time.

The Christians have an "answer" for why God apparently has stopped doing things. Cessationism. Here's how that conversation would go.

Atheist: So why doesn't God do stuff any more?

Christian: Cessationism.

Atheist: That doesn't explain it.

Christian: You must not know what cessationism means. Let me explain it to you. Cessationism means that God doesn't do stuff any more.

Atheist: You must not know what logic is. You've just said that God doesn't do stuff any more because God doesn't do stuff any more.
Jesus is like Pinocchio.  He's the bastard son of a carpenter. And a liar. And he wishes he was real.
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#7
RE: The ethics of worship
He killed all the firstborn cattle too.
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
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#8
RE: The ethics of worship
Not the livestock!
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#9
RE: The ethics of worship
I'm surprised you weren't banned from christianforums.com right after posting that thread there. I've seen other non-theists be banned for far less. They're a censorious bunch over there.
"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool." - Richard P. Feynman
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#10
RE: The ethics of worship
(September 11, 2020 at 7:57 am)zebo-the-fat Wrote: Why does a god need to be worshiped?  What does he/it get out of it?

I think that particular question was best addressed by Terry Pratchett in his book Small Gods.   It is also easily the funniest solution.
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