A Bad Taste!

I'm redating this from exbeliever, a former contributor [John].

The Psalmist writes, "Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." (Psalm 34:8). For a long time, I was an ardent admirer of Dr. John Piper. In fact, his mentor, Dan Fuller, was my mentor in seminary as well. [Coincidentally, Dr. Fuller lives on Mentor Street in Pasadena, CA. Behind the gruff, crotchety exterior is a very nice man who will spend hours talking to you in his living room and whose wife will bring you cookies on a platter. :-) pleasant memories]

I remember a sermon or Advent poem of Dr. Piper's in which he described God as a flowing fountain of delight. He said that we would praise a fountain, not by standing passively by, but by sticking our faces deep inside it to take in its wonderful refreshment. We would stand up and shout, "This is the best water I've ever tasted; come and have some with me!"

In the context of that metaphor, he referred to the passage I quoted above. He invited others to taste and see God's goodness.

But what about those of us who have left the fountain with a horrible taste in our mouths? We came to the fountain and drank as deeply as we could and, for a while, could not get enough of it. We loved reading the Bible and being instructed by it. We believed that it made us wiser than our counselors. We made our bodies our slaves so that they would honor God. We prayed without ceasing. We sought first the kingdom of God. We confessed our sins and believed that God was faithful and just to forgive us our sins. We did not forsake meeting together (in church) as some were in the habit of doing. We encouraged one another. We preached "the Word" in season and out. We attempted to study to show ourselves approved. We fed God's sheep. We realized that "we" couldn't do anything at all, that only God could work through us.

But, then, something happened. The fountain became foul to us. We tried to ignore the taste. We went back to it again and again hoping something would change. We opened the Bible and, instead of finding wisdom, we found violence and justification of immoral acts. We found anti-intellectualism and backwards thinking. We found oppression. Our prayers returned to us void. They bounced off of the ceiling. We prayed harder and felt dumber for it. While we could still enjoy the fellowship of Christian people, we discovered that what we liked about them had nothing to do with their Christianity, but rather with their humanity. We found that we simply liked the people for who they were, not because they believed something about a religion.

We weren't trying to "leave the faith," the faith was leaving us. We tried to hold on to the fountain, but something had changed. It wasn't the fountain, it was our taste for it. We realized that the fountain wasn't a being, it was a religion. It was just dogma. It is like we had been drinking from it with our eyes closed and noses plugged. Somehow, though, we opened our eyes and unplugged our noses and discovered that we had been enjoying filth. The fountain was a fountain of blood and other foul things. We realized that we had spent most of our lives consuming a vile concoction.

We would have been happy to have simply left, but we couldn't help but want to pull others away from such a cesspool. We wanted to help them open their eyes and see what we saw. We wanted them to see the trouble the fountain was causing in the world. Quickly, however, we ran into opposition. We found that those still slurping away at the fountain with eyes closed and noses plugged resisted. They said that we were lying about the taste of the fountain or that we had never drunk from it in the first place. We told them to open their eyes, but they responded that the eyes cannot be trusted. We described the filth to them, but even when they accepted that the fountain contained blood and other "foul" things, they insisted that those things were really "good."

So, here we stand beside a fountain of filth hoping that we can convince others to open their eyes and see what they are drinking. We are watching with horror as more and more people are closing their eyes and drinking in all of the vileness in front of them.

What is it that we see that we want to alert you to?

. . . we see the teaching that a "benevolent" god cannot control his temper so something must die in order for that god's anger to be satisfied.

. . . we see a religion based on death and the spilling of blood.

. . . we see teaching that a god will say in anger, "I will blot out from the earth the human beings I have created—people together with animals and creeping things and birds of the air." Genesis 6:7

. . . we see teaching that a god considers the smell of burning, sacrificed animals to be a "pleasing aroma." Genesis 7

. . . we see teaching that a god uses people as pawns, hardening their hearts to do something he doesn't want them to do so that he can punish them for doing it (Exodus 4:21; 7:3; 9:12; 10:1, 20, 27; 11:10; 14:8; 14:4).

. . . we see teaching that a god orders disobedient children to be killed (Exodus 21:15, 17).

. . . we see teaching that a god is so insecure that he orders the death of everyone who does not follow his religion (no, he doesn't try to convince them that he is better than the other gods, he commands that they be put to death) (Exodus 22:20).

. . . we see teaching that a god cares so much about what two men do with their genitals that those two men should bekilledd (Leviticus 20:13).

. . . we see teaching that a god cares so little for the sick that he commands that they be put outside of the camp and left to die (Numbers 5:1-4).

. . . we see teaching that a god orders the earth to swallow 250 people and then kills 14,700 more people who think that was too violent (Numbers 16).

. . . we see teaching that a god uses another king as his pawn ("For the LORD your God had made his spirit stubborn and his heart obstinate in order to give him into your hands, as he has now done.") to do something that god doesn't want him to do so that the god can then completely destroy all the "men, women and children" of several towns (Deuteronomy 2:32).

. . . we see teaching that a god orders people to kill all family members who hold to a different faith (Deuteronomy 13:6-10).

. . . we see teaching that a god tells his invading army that they can take women and children as "plunder" (Deuteronomy 20:14).

. . . we see teaching that a god tells his invading army to kill "anything that breathes" in other cities (Deuteronomy 20:16).

. . . we see teaching that this can be said of a god, "For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them utterly." A god who sets people up, just so that he can destroy them. (Joshua 11:20)

. . . we see teaching that a god can send an evil spirit to people so that they will dealtreacherouslyy with their leader (Judges 9).

. . . we see teaching that the "spirit of the Lord" is so violent that every time it enters Samson, he kills something (Judges 14-16).

. . . we see teaching that a god orders his invading army to attack a people and to "totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys." (1 Samuel 15:3)

. . . we see teaching that a god kills a man who tries to keep one of his relics from hitting the ground (2 Samuel 6).

. . . we see teaching that a god kills a woman's son for an evil deed her husband did (2 Samuel 12).

. . . we see teaching that a god will kill people and then let dogs desecrate their bodies (1 Kings 14).

. . . we see teaching that a god kills a man who is brave enough to say, "No," to god's command to kill another person (1 Kings 20).

. . . we see teaching that a god kills 42 children for making fun of a guy's bald head (2 Kings 2).

. . . we see teaching that a god orders an invading army to raise the land they destroy by cutting down all of the trees and spoiling all of the wells (2 Kings 3).

. . . we see teaching that a god will send a whole land into years of famine and death when he is angry (2 Kings 8).

. . . we see teaching that a god will kill 70,000 people because another person (who god does not kill) disobeyed him and took a census of the people (1 Chronicles 21).

. . . we see teaching that a god allows a man to be tortured just to prove a point (Job).

. . . we see teaching that it is praise-worthy of a god that it is "he who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks."

. . . we see teaching that a god will stir up an army who "will strike down the young men . . . [and] will have no mercy on infants nor will they look with compassion on children . . . Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword. Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives ravished." (Isaiah 13:18,15,16)

. . . we see teaching that a god does not reason with people who leave his religion to follow others, but rather kills them and puts their bones in front of their other gods (Ezekiel 6:5).

. . . we see teaching that a god says, "Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears." (Joel 3:10)

. . . we see teaching that a god comes in human flesh so that he can be killed to appease his own anger.

. . . we see teaching that a god comes in human flesh and introduces the concept of hell to his followers so that they can not only fear being killed at one time, but can be tortured eternally.

. . . we see teaching that a god comes in human flesh and instead of casting out demons into the abyss, instead puts them into innocent animals who subsequently jump off of a cliff (Matthew 8).

. . . we see teaching that a god comes in human flesh and promises to send angels to throw people into a burning fire for eternal torment (Matthew 13).

We could go on and on.

This is what we are watching you drink and enjoy. This is what we see you offering to others.

We point these things out and you become angry at us. Instead of addressing these immoral acts, you ask, "By what standard is all of this stuff evil?" You have so blinded yourself that you are unwilling to call rape, torture, infanticide, etc. evil. You question us for calling it evil!

Open your eyes! Really taste and see if what you are drinking is "good." Don't be so quick to swallow what you cannot see.