I remember a shocking scene from a movie. A young recruit for the CIA was in front of a man. The man had been tied up and his face covered.
“Who is he?”
“It doesn’t matter. All you have to do is kill him.”
“What did he do?”
“It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that he is a danger to the country.”
The young recruit didn’t think it twice. He had endured a long training for this, so he could be one of the best agents for the country.
The man could’ve been his own father, but he didn’t care. The agent loaded the gun and killed the man.
The young agent was no longer the man he used to be. He was now an anonymous agent who would serve his country. He was given a new name, and a new target to kill. A cold-blooded murderer had been born.
The story of Abraham bears a strikingly similar resemblance:
Abraham was told by God to offer his own son as a sacrifice for God. He obviously lied to the child, and was about to kill him with a knife. Miraculously, we read, an angel stopped him from murdering his own son, and was promised a numerous descendance, even greater than the stars in the sky, and the sands in the sea.
The most prolific religion on earth was born due to a wicked initiation. The submission of a man, against all his love, to a God who commanded him to murder his own son – and not a grown up, but a child.
God wanted Abraham to murder an innocent child. The fact that an angel stopped him doesn’t matter. In his heart, he was willing to commit a murder.
And this is the beginning of today’s greatest religion?
In August, 2011, fundamentalist christian Michael Pearl and his wife Debi went to jail for beating their children so severely that one of their children died. Their justification? Biblical discipline.
“Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”
– Proverbs 13:24
If some other person claims God told him to kill his children, what do well-intentioned christians say about it? “No, it’s not God who commanded them! It was the devil! They were crazy!”
It does not matter.
It doesn’t matter whether God, real or fake, or imagined, wasn’t the one who commanded them to kill their own children.
The only thing that matters is that someone BELIEVES God commanded him to kill. This is the power of faith. Turning an otherwise healthy man into a cold-blooded murderer. Because how dare he refuse to obey the Almighty!
George Bush claimed to be doing God’s will when invading Iraq. Ironically, so did the taliban ten years ago when crashing the planes against the WTC.
So I begin to wonder whether faith is really a virtue (as I was taught by the Catholic Church). Shouldn’t reason be a much greater virtue than faith?
Imagine I was Abraham, and God told me to kill my own child. What would I say?
“Bullshit. First, prove you’re God. Do miracles and stuff.”
Second, after proving himself to me, I would ask: What does God want with me killing my son? (Does the end justify the means?)
If God then provided me with a reasonable explanation, I would finally ask: Why don’t YOU kill him instead? You’re God! If you claim you’re all-powerful, why don’t you make me nearly-all-knowing so I can understand your plans? Increase my IQ by 1,000 units, fill my brain with knowledge about the world, and then let me decide what is best. Am I not reasonable enough to take a good choice?
“So, why don’t YOU kill my son instead? Unless… unless you’re really not all-powerful. Perhaps you’re a demon in disguise, and because you can only misguide people to act by themselves, you’re fooling me to kill my own son. So I can make you rule a kingdom with Iron Fist, through violence and treachery, using men as simple puppets, blinded by fear of you. Are you REALLY a God?”
In any case, the most reasonable choice would be to go to a psychiatrist and ask for a diagnosis (where else would you go if some voice that came from nowhere told you to kill your own son?)
But if Abraham knew the bare minimum about ethics, he would have done the right thing, and spare his child. A religion that is born out of a cruel and manipulative initiation rite is not worthy of being called “God’s plan”.
That is, of course, if the story of Abraham isn’t just a myth invented by jewish priests… which would make much more sense, by the way.