Monday, April 20, 2009

A Jealous God?

I've been thinking lately about the Jewish Old Testament (OT) and the Christian New Testament (NT). Not only do I wonder why the two texts were merged, I also wonder why anyone thinks the Jewish god and the Christ of the New Testament are compatible since each one contradicts the other.

Judaism's OT god is a jealous and vengeful god with negative human character traits. He's more of a do-what-I-say-not-what-I-do kind of god. "Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not commit adultery" is what he supposedly supernaturally engraved on the stone tablets of Moses. Yet, this very god went before the Jews (If they were in good standing with him) in war to make sure they killed more folks than the other army. He worked in cohorts with Elijah to kill all the prophets who worshipped the other god, Baal. He approved of David, who had multiple wives, and even called him a man after his own heart.

The Christian view of Jesus as the son of this Jewish god is much different. He is compassionate, non-judgmental, and forgiving, and he caused people to rise from the dead. Jesus was a teacher and role model who never used force to get his way. He never asked to be worshipped. The adage: like father, like son, does not apply to this womanless duo. And, where is the mother of Jesus in this scenario? Mary wasn't around in the OT. Paganism and other older traditions honored the Goddess or Mother Earth. Some say that the Holy Spirit is the divine feminine aspect of the trinity. Male-dominant Judaism and Christianity both ignore the divine feminine.

Funny (as in strange, not ha ha) thing is many Christians act as if they believe in the attributes of the OT god rather than in the user-friendly Jesus. People take vows of monogamy only to break them, some approve of killing in the name of war, and while they do not approve of mediums and psychics who communicate with deceased loved ones, most Christians worship Jesus and follow him as a spirit guide. Right and wrong varies according to which denomination one belongs to; but, sin is okay since Jesus can forgive it with his blood. This makes for confusion and the whole "waiting on god" thing creates a sense that one is not personally responsible for making decisions, and taking action to create his or her own life.

I'm not trying to be factious. It's just the irony of the two gods that doesn't make sense. How can anyone please both of them?

1 comment:

Autumn Heartsong said...

I have had the same thoughts, Yvonne. Growing up in a Christian faith, I found myself wondering how a god of love could be the same god who allowed Job to be tormented and tortured as part of a pi**ing contest between a supposedly all-powerful god and a deposed angel-turned-devil, a showdown to determine who has the biggest set.

Forgive me if that sounds disrespectful; I realize that there are many who hold cherished beliefs and faith in the god of the OT, and I wish them well. I just can't wrap my head around the concept.

On the other hand, the teachings of Jesus are so simple and easy to grasp. As a non-Christian adult, I've been able to look back at the teachings of Jesus from a distance, removed from the dogma of church and religion, and I'm always moved by the love, compassion, and acceptance he showed to all, even those who walked a different path. When he met those practicing what he thought of as "sin," he didn't rant, rail, or run...he blessed and moved on.

That works for me.