This blog contains material I wrote and posted on multiply.com between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).
Monday, 26 November 2012
God The Narcissist
Those of you who have watched that old Cecil B. De Mille production of The Ten Commandments will recall the Pharaoh (a calumny in the film showed it as being Rameses II, possibly one of the greatest monarchs who ever lived, probably because of his name recall value) refusing to “let (Moses’) people go” until god (YHWH, in that instance) had chastised the Egyptians with frogs and locusts (good food, wouldn’t you have thought?) and killed the first born of every household. I suppose I’m lucky I wasn’t alive at the time – as the first (and only) born of my parents I wouldn’t be writing this (or the hieroglyphic equivalent).
Actually, in the original from the Old Testament, the (unnamed) Pharaoh didn’t keep the Jews in slavery out of some personal caprice; he was made to do it by YHWH, who hardened his heart (presumably by increasing the cholesterol content of his diet) so that he would not let the Jews go. The idea behind this was that YHWH would then “chastise” him by ten plagues in order to force him to let them go, so that YHWH could show off his powers.
Some YHWH. Sounds kind of like George W Bush with whoever he desires to invade – give a dog a bad name and hang it.
Actually, think of it, YHWH and his successor, the Christian god, are pretty awful klutzes. For allegedly omnipotent deities, who at the very least should have known what was going on, they were always being defied, supplanted and bypassed. Their followers kept backsliding into worshipping golden calves and heresies like declaring Jesus was a human being and the earth went around the sun, and so on and so forth. And as for Allah (the Arabic original is Al Lah, or simply, The God – calling him Allah is to give him a name, something which is un-Islamic in strict terms, since the Islamic deity has no form and not even a name) he can’t even keep his favourite people, the followers of the prophet himself, from being at the receiving end of genocidal imperialistic occupation by infidel armies and pious mullah holy warriors from being opposed by secular-minded Muslim dictators. How…embarrassing.
But these same deities don’t seem to ever get quite enough of being praised, haven’t you noticed?
Allah, for one, enjoins his followers to keep Allah always in their minds and on their tongues, saying that no act is pure unless done for the greater glory of Allah (is Allah in competition with other deities for honours, or something? – but then the Islamic Kalima says La illaha illallah Muhammadur Rasulallah – there is no God but Al Lah and Muhammad is his prophet). Allah is also supposed to have kept an angel by his right hand whose only duty is to praise him without pause. And on the Day of Judgement, he will hurl those who sin against him into the deepest pits of hell. Yet – he’s omnipotent, and by definition can stop anyone from sinning against him. Is that ridiculous or what?
I’ve already dealt a little with YHWH and his war crimes against the Egyptians (chemical and biological warfare for a problem of his own deliberate creating). It got worse when the Jews got to the Sinai, because YHWH, in another fit of temper (the Jews weren’t praising him enough, maybe) made them wander for forty years in the desert and never even allowed Moses himself entry into the Promised Land, where he then proceeded to make the Jews exterminate the original inhabitants, lock, stock, and barrel (if you believe the Old Testament, of course). Ah – while we are on the subject. Remember Uzzah the Hittite, who was struck dead because he touched YHWH’s own Ark of the Covenant in order to stop it from suffering a nasty fall? What sort of deity is this? A three year old child has more compassion.
As for the Christian God, he has allegedly mellowed to some extent in recent years. Remember the prayer meeting I mentioned in a post on creationism, where a man was foaming at the mouth against evolution? The same guy also said that any act – however good its effects – had no merit if not done without Christian motives (whatever those are) and to praise and glorify god. Which god would that be? The same psychopath who sent his own son to be sacrificed by public execution just to enhance his own glory? Does any of this make sense to you?
If these Middle Eastern origin Semitic deities are such consummate narcissists, can’t they even achieve their object without going to the trouble of creating a universe and populating one minor planet with a race of bipedal primates who must keep praising them and their works?
Or is it something with the Semitic peoples then? The Greek, Roman, Norse, Celtic, and Asian gods were sometimes capricious, untrustworthy, cruel, and so on, too; but they were at least much more believable and human than the Semitic deities. Unfortunately, over most of the world, it’s the Semitic deities who rule these days, and, unfortunately, their most influential followers have absorbed the worst features of their narcissism. Just look at George W Bush and his conviction that he’s right, whatever happens, a belief shared completely by his friend Osama bin Laden.
Unfortunately, meanwhile, Hinduism – a formerly tolerant faith where the devotees of one deity could ignore or even revile another – is becoming rapidly semiticised and Hindu gods are becoming as narcissistic as any Semitic jumped-up camel jockey of a deity. Which, what with the Indian social tensions, is a prescription for disaster.
All of these godheads need psychotherapy. Or at least their followers do.