Thursday, March 20, 2014

A tidy little argument suggesting (news flash ...) that the Bible is not the word of God

American Philosopher Jason Thibodeau has come up with what I consider to be a tidy little argument as to why we can be certain that the Bible (at least in its entirety) is not the word of God. Here it is:

(1) God [at least as conceived by Christians] is omnibenevolent.

(2) An omnibenevolent being despises genocide, slavery, murder, etc. Thus,

(3) An omnibenevolent being would never command genocide. Thus,

(4) An omnibenevolent being would not want himself to be depicted as commanding genocide.

(5) The Bible contains passages in which God is depicted as commanding genocide. Thus,

(6) An omnibenevolent being does not want to be associated with the Bible (or at least those texts in which he is depicted as commanding atrocities or approving of them). Thus,

(7) The Bible is not the word of God.

Looks air tight to me. Anyone out there care to disagree?


  1. TAM,
    I think we like to assume an omnibenevolent God because that is indeed the god we desire. Who really wants a God that punishes sin? We have a God of Law and Gospel. A God that speaks words of warning and words of comfort.
    Our sensibilities also run up against the scandal of particularity. Why some and not others? Why the Jews by not the Assyrians? We don't like it. We don't like a God of judgment.
    But we don't get to control God.
    Pastor Kevin Jud

  2. I have to say that I disagree with his starting premise. The problem I have with it is that not all Christians claim an omnibenevolent God, I mean just read the Bible. If I can't accept the first premise proposed then I can't accept the rest.

  3. Isn't omnibenevolence an official Christian doctrine that all Christians believe whether Catholic or Protestant? I thought it was. Now commentors are saying no? Is that the view of their denomination as well? Can anyone name a church denomination that officially does NOT believe God is benevolent?

  4. Who cares? This argument is completely superfluous and entirely unnecessary. The Bible has no need for some philosophy argument to disprove it it does that well enough on its own.

  5. Another way they get around it is the definition of benevolent. How can you say what is good when 'He' works in mysterious ways? What we might see as an atrocity, might have an overarching divine purpose for good. There's no winning that argument. I like Nick Gotelli's approach. Deliver a slam dunk and then ignore them and don't give them a podium.

  6. An all loving God who sent his Son to save us all is a modern interpretation.

    The older interpretation is that God sacrificed his Son, who willingly gave his blood to invoke vicarious redemption.

    Catholics believe that God is love... that he is the very wellspring for the essence of love. He is not benevolent so much as he is the source of all benevolence.

    Calvinist Christians belief in a Doctrine of predestination, in which God damns people to hell according to his will. This version of God has the ability to damn people to hell prior to these people even existing, if he so chooses, since God is all-knowing.

    So the omnibenevolent God is more of a generic descriptor for this generic version of the Christian God as cobbled together by modern worshippers naive of the variety of God-belief within the larger sandbox of their own prescribed to religion.

    I talk about this more in-depth in my book The Swedish Fish, Deflating the Scuba Diver and Working the Rabbit's Foot.