A brutal God?

SIR - Using the Bible as ‘evidence’ that God exists and that Jesus was His son, as some correspondents did last week, raises difficult questions.

Jesus’ teachings in the New Testament, for example, the Sermon on the Mount, are very inspirational. But could this gentle Christ really be the son of the God portrayed in the Old Testament?

Running through the verses of the Old Testament is a vein of brutality, vengeance and indiscriminate killing which is difficult to reconcile with Christian morality. To take three examples from hundreds:

1. God sends two bears to tear apart 42 children as punishment for mocking an old prophet! (2 Kings)

2. God directs his chosen people to commit genocide on their enemies the Amalekites. (Samuel)

3. God kills all living things on earth except for one family and some animals. (Genesis)

If such stories are merely a collection of bloodthirsty folk-tales, then the Old Testament cannot be the Word of God. If they are true, then surely modern Christians wouldn’t want Jesus to be associated with the ‘Jehovah’ described in its pages. Would they?

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Tony Green

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