I was watching the movie “The 10 Commandments” on Passover this year (a ritual I’d gotten out of the habit of doing in many, many years). And I had some theological reflections about why the heck we would worship this God. Nothing I say here is new to me. Just came to mind again in a flash of understanding as I watched.
So… God kills thousands of children and adults, animals too, just to save God’s people? You can look at it as a story of mercy, but only if you are on the side of those who were saved. For others who were not responsible for the slaves’ situation, their suffering and deaths were just collateral damage – including the horses, animals, etc.
This kind of killing of those not on God’s side happens several times in OT – in the desert when the people built an idol and many died in the earthquake, taking over Canaan, and so forth. There’s also the jealous God heard in the Prophets who is seething that God’s people whore after other Gods or have left him entirely, seething so much that would send people into exile, cause crop failure and starvation, death.
Why, if this wrathful and jealous terror-causing God is the image of God carried in the hearts and minds of the people at the time when the events of the New Testament were happening, why would we be surprised that people interpret God as sending a son to die to save a people and the rest to suffer endlessly – a case of divine child abuse and killing those who are not God’s people. Is collateral damage (a child and those damned) always a part of God’s showing mercy?
Why worship this God?
Wouldn’t it make more sense to have ‘natural causes’ (disease, ecological disaster, human hubris) cause suffering in the world and have a God whose presence and resilience rubs off on us so that we can withstand evil, show one another mercy, and thereby show the power of mercy and love in the world?
*Also, I probably won’t respond to comments.