Beliefs, Habits, Doubt, Love, Jealousy, Sexism, Racism-- and Why God is NOT Love

 Habits, we all have them—some good and some bad--and our habits are our tendencies or dispositions to act in certain ways in certain situations. It is our beliefs, or what we hold to be true (even if it isn't) that shape our habits. Being taught that blacks and women are inferior for instance, shaped the “belief” that they are—even if this is not true--which results in the “habitual discrimination” of women and people of color. This is where doubt comes in.

Doubt arises when a belief does not work. What kept racism and sexism alive for so many centuries was not that they were correct beliefs, but beliefs that were established via tenacity and authority.  However, we have since come to realize that racism and sexism is counterproductive for our society, and society is more productive without racism or sexism.  In the last century, there has been a positive “paradigm shift” which continues to this day, and I argue that Christianity, like racism and sexism, can, and will continue to be exposed as another belief system that does not work as well as a secular, non-racist, and non-sexist society. In fact, the more people learn about Christianity, and the more they know about the Bible, the more doubts arise. I know this to be true, as I studied with many people who, due to their doubts and increased knowledge, also eventually gave up their faith.

When doubts arise, or things “don't work,” as a pragmatist, I try to find ways to “fix” whatever the problem is. This is where the H-D, or Hypothetico-Deductive method comes in. Now, this does not mean that I do not have “faith” in certain things—because I do. I have “faith that the sun will rise every morning, and I have “faith” that when I turn on the tap, water will come out. But what would happen if one morning I went to make coffee, and no water came out? If I relied wholly on faith alone, I would sit there with my coffee pot under the tap, having “faith” that since water came out yesterday, water will eventually come out again—even if it never did. (How stupid would THAT be!)

However, as a pragmatist, I could hypothesize that the valve in the basement might be closed and that is why there is no water flowing from my tap. This is the foundation of the H-D method. We form a hypothesis to overcome the problem and then act on it. Acting on the hypothesis (checking the basement valve) changes the situation, and if we succeed, we are said to have gained “knowledge” (the tap was closed). The proposition is not just verified by what happens in the future, it is the instrument whereby what becomes future comes into existence.

Now, religion is what it is, due to the same methods that kept racism and sexism alive for thousands of years—tenacity and authority—and not because it is the best explanation for our existence. Racism and sexism were, and are still being “acted upon” in order to alleviate these problems, and this too, is what must be done in the realms of religion in order to alleviate the problems associated with it (such as sexism). One of the biggest reasons why I rejected Christianity was not just because of its illogical nature, but because according to their religion, good and moral people who do not happen to believe in the Christian god are said to go to hell and suffer for eternity—which is unjust, immoral, and contradictory to the “belief” that Yahweh is “all-loving.” When my doubts arose, I applied logic and reason to Biblical text, and it fell short. When I asked the question, “Is Yahweh really an “all-loving god?” --the answer, according to what is written in the Bible, is NO.  I acted on my hypothesis that Yahweh was an “all-loving” god as I had been taught he was, but according to the following Biblical passages, my hypothesis was not verified. Logically speaking, the Bible proves that Yahweh is NOT love:
"But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love." 1 John 4:8

"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud "1Corinthians 13:4

"You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me," Exodus 20:5
In the logical form of Modus Tollens, the following is the conclusion drawn from the above passages:

P1. IF God is love, THEN God is not jealous.
P2. God IS jealous.
C. Therefore God is NOT love.

This conclusion is catastrophic for Christians, as it negates their entire philosophy of “God is Love.” God cannot be love, if God is jealous, but God IS jealous. Christians can attempt to whittle off parts the square "loving God " to try and fit into the round "jealous God" and create one God, but according to their own scriptures, it does not work. Counter examples of "righteous jealousy" do not work either, because the Bible does not distinguish between jealousy and righteous jealousy. In fact, the above passage from Exodus 20, and others like it such as:
"Fear the Lord your God, serve him only and take your oaths in his name. Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land. Deut. 6:13-15
does not portray a god in the sense of having “righteous jealousy” (i.e., merely being vigilant in maintaining something) but is a god who feels resentment, envy, and is suspicious, and is therefore, filled with “wrath, and threats” and is bent on destroying or punishing even those who are merely born to those who “hate” him. This too, is unjust and immoral, and similar to the idea of all of humanity being punished for the so-called “sins” of Adam and Eve. This is a “believe in me or feel my tortuous wrath” philosophy, and it is not “righteous” at all.

Nevertheless, many Christians attempt to show a distinction between love and jealousy, and righteous jealousy by asking hypothetical questions such as, "If my wife runs out on me with another man, and I am jealous, does that prove I love her?" This counter example however, does not work, because either the Bible is correct in that God cannot love and be jealous, or, the Bible is wrong--and he can love and be jealous. This is a dilemma, and illustrates the absurdity of the Christian position, especially when we consider the following verse.
"Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud " 1 Corinthians 13:4
Now, the Christian can say that he loves his wife, and he can be jealous, but the passage above from the Bible states that love is NOT jealous. So, either the Bible is wrong, or the Christian who claims to love and be jealous is. If it is claimed that this passage is merely poetic, evocative, and descriptive, then we can also say that Jesus being the "son of God" is merely a poetic and evocative description of him, and is similar to the poetic and evocative description of "me and my grandmother being one" in that we share the same philosophy. This is why biblical exegesis is so important. In the case of biblical exegesis, or the critical explanation or interpretation of the Bible, the meaning of the text, and the context in which it is written is used to discover the relevance of what is written. However, when Humpty Dumpty semantics and ad hoc explanations are employed in order to create meaning, the text becomes virtually meaningless.

Even if the Christian god were true, the Bible tells us he is not “all-loving” and therefore, Christians are fooling themselves in believing their god has this character trait. They are conditioned via tenacity and authority by counter factuals claiming that all they have to do is believe, and their god will “love” them and they will go to paradise when they die—based on nothing but faith that their god is an “all-loving” god--when the H-D method has proven that their god is not all-loving at all. For people who are told what to believe about their god via tenacity or authority, many are satisfied with that, and logic, reason, and the H-D method are no use to them when applied to their religious scripture--they plug their collective ears and go la-la-la-la-la--but for those of us that want answers that make sense, further inquiry is required. This is why religion is most popular amongst the poor and oppressed, as it provides them with “false hope”--they don't care if it makes sense or not. Those that are well off and educated however, are more prone to investigate improbable theories, and discard them for what they are—improbable theories—and move on to better ones. Tenacity and authority rely on words without validation or evidence to support them. This is why the H-D method is a better method of coming to knowledge, as it is self correcting.  If a hypothesis is shown to be false via H-D, we abandon it and move on. This is how we as humans progress. I have no “doubt” in my mind that living a pragmatic way of life is a very satisfying way to live—it freed me from the matrix and allowed me to see Christianity for what it is—illogical and inconsistent nonsense.  I hope that by reading this blog and others like it, as well as the numerous books now available (such as John's) others will come to realize this too.
Cathy Cooper