The Savage God

The God of the Old Testament is under severe attack. He has been maligned and vilified by several people and in different venues. Many people are offended by the violence in the Old Testament. Some people say that the God of the Old Testament is not the God of the New Testament. Some people say that “there is a demonic or vicious side to his nature.” Others call the God of the Old Testament immoral, abusive, vindictive, savage, and dangerous.

In his book Our Savage God, Robert Zaehner said that the God of the Old Testament, is a God who “appears in a savage guise” (Zaehner 1974: 232). According to Zaehner, the God of the Old Testament is the frenzied God who storms and rages throughout the Old Testament. Zaehner said that the savage God is the God who is vengeful, radical and repugnant. The savage God is a God who is cruel and violent, unjust and harsh (Zaehner 1974: 225).

Richard Dawkins, the atheist who made his fame mocking religion, has one of the most unflattering views about the God of the Old Testament. He wrote: “The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction; jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving, control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser, a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully” (Dawkins 2006:31).

Gregory Boyd uses disparaging language to describe the God of the Old Testament. This is what Boyd says about the God of the Old Testament: “On the cross, Jesus exposed this sinful god-in-our-own-image to be the blasphemous lie that it is. On the cross, the diabolic violent warrior god we have all-too-frequently pledged allegiance to has been forever repudiated and ‘brought to nothing’” (Boyd 2017: 1261).

Whybray, describing the character of the God of the Old Testament, said that “there is a demonic or vicious side to his nature” (Whybray 2000:1). Whybray also called him “an immoral God,” a “malevolent deity,” “a destroying God, a God of violence” (Whybray 1996: 89-120).

Walter Dietrich says that the God of the Old Testament is “gruesome (Dietrich 2005:4).

In his study of Israel’s testimony to Yahweh, Brueggemann described the God of the Old Testament as “savage, odd, abusive, mean-spirited, wild, self-indulgent, unreliable, unstable, capricious, irascible, irrational, sulky, and more” (Fretheim 1998:33).

David Penchansky called the God of the Old Testament an insecure, irrational, vindictive, dangerous, malevolent, and abusive God (Penchansky 1999: 3).

Cowles believes that the Old Testament distorts the true character of God. Cowles calls Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament, “Yahweh, the genocidal warrior of the Old Testament” and “a genocidal despot” (Cowles 2003:193).

Seibert calls Yahweh the “genocidal general” (2009:32).

Continue at: https://claudemariottini.com/2021/12/27/the-savage-god-2/

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