God the Original Fascist

Part 3a: God Consolidates His Rule by Total Fear and Terror

Revolution #017, October 9, 2005, posted at revcom.us

A series submitted by A. Brooks, a reader of REVOLUTION newspaper

EDITORíS NOTE: This series of articles was submitted by a reader who was inspired by Bob Avakianís writings and talks on religion and, further provoked by discussions and arguments with friends about the Bible, engaged in a systematic study of the first five books of the Bible. These books, which are known as the "Mosaic Books" (and which contain such crucial passages as that outlining the Ten Commandments), lay out the foundation for some of the Bibleís most important themes. After having read these five, Mosaic books of the Bible, the reader was struck even more deeply by how profoundly the essence of the Bibleís message has been distorted and hidden.

In part 1 of this series, I discussed the many ways in which a society organized according to the Bible would be a total nightmare for the people living in it. To use just a few examples, the following themes were discussed: The complete dominance of faith over science; the total subjugation of women to men and various forms of deadly oppression that came with that; the condemnation of homosexuals to death; the Bibleís sanctioning of trading in human slaves; the total and vicious intolerance shown to people of other religions; and the meting out of the death penalty for not only violent acts but also acts that reasonable people would not even consider to be crimes, such as insulting oneís parents, engaging in homosexual sex, or committing adultery.

As frightening as such a society would be, what is perhaps even more frightening is the consequences that God implements and calls for in relation to any persons who do not rigidly and absolutely follow his rule. Examining these consequences, we indeed find that, much like the current President and many who have come before him, Godís rule was based on extreme repression of dissent and demands for total, unwavering obedience.

It is quite ironic that so many Evangelical Christians lament the abundance of "violent images" in Hollywood movies and video games when (a) these same Evangelical Christians have mobilized rabidly to support the mass slaughter of Iraqi people and the destruction of their towns by the U.S. military; and (b) when the very text these Christian fascists turn to as inspiration for "proper" morality is one of the bloodiest and most gratuitously violent books that has ever been written! And when one actually sits down and reads the Bible, there can be no doubt that, much like the passages about slavery mentioned in the previous installment in this series, the passages dealing with such violence are not mentioning it from a critical standpoint. On the contrary, the Bible is a tale of brutal death, relentless destruction, and tremendous human suffering initiated for the purpose of strengthening the rule of a leader who views himself as divine and all-powerful. Sound familiar?

From the earliest books of the Bible onward, a basic theme emerges from Godís commandments and utterances: Follow me completely, or else I will annihilate you. Before delving into the numerous instances in which God says this openly and clearly to his supposed "chosen people," let us begin by looking at an example that is more subtle, though no less instructive: The story of God, working through Moses, leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt. Much like the story of Adam and Eve, even those who have not studied the Bible closely (or at all) are generally familiar with this story of Moses and the Pharaoh of Egypt, and the famous instance during which Moses defiantly tells the Pharaoh: "Let my people GO!" What is perhaps less known about this story of "Exodus" is that if one were to take the story literally, they would have to believe that God deliberately enslaved the Israelites in Egypt, and then when the Pharaoh was tempted to release the Israelites, God repeatedly hardened the heart of the Pharaoh so that he would refuse to release the Israelites!

Indeed, at the beginning of Exodus, the famous story of the "burning bush" is described: God supposedly reveals himself to Moses in a burning bush and tells him that the Egyptians will have enslaved the Israelites for a period of 400 years before God finally delivers the captives from their masters. (Exodus 2) Now remember: This is supposed to be an all-powerful God we are talking about here! Instead of subjecting his own "chosen" people to horrible suffering and enslavement for centuries and then freeing them, why not just prevent them from being enslaved in the first damn place?

Well, reading on in Exodus, we get our answer. God hints to Moses that this whole process by which the Israelites become slaves to the Egyptians and then are freed is to him nothing more than a sick game--an opportunity to "shock and awe" everyone with his power: "You shall repeat all that I command you.... But I will harden Pharaohís heart, that I may multiply my signs and marvels in the land of Egypt." (Exodus 6) The "you shall repeat all I command you" portion of this passage refers to the instructions God provides to Moses where he tells Moses to tell the Pharaoh to release the Israelites from captivity or else God will punish Egypt. The next few passages of Exodus follow a basic pattern: Moses threatens the Pharaoh that unless he releases the Israelites from captivity, God will unleash plagues on the Egyptians--including blood, lice, frogs, locusts, swarms of insects, and inflammation of the skin, among other things. The Pharaoh witnesses one of these plagues, and immediately agrees to free the Israelites if the plagues are stopped. God halts the plagues, but then also hardens Pharaohís heart so that he recants on his promise to free the slaves, and thus God "has no choice" but to inflict more plagues on the Egyptians.

Think about this passage for a second. What does it say about this "God" that, even though he is "all-powerful" and could easily have prevented the Israelites from being enslaved in the first place, and then subsequently could have freed them once they were enslaved, he would instead choose to intentionally prolong the suffering of both the Israelites and the Egyptians merely so that he could show off his -powers? Is that God any kind of God to uphold or believe in?

This passage is one of the earlier examples of the brutality of Godís logic, and the remainder of the five Mosaic books clearly demonstrate that this passage is the rule and not the exception. The text, in fact, is littered with instances where those who do not follow Godís commandments absolutely meet with unspeakable death and suffering. Let us now look through some of these instances--a section we might refer to as " Godís greatest hits."

In Leviticus, God makes it clear that his laws are to be followed absolutely--no questions asked: "You shall not copy the practices of the land of Egypt where you dwelt, or the land of Canaan, to which I am taking you; nor shall you follow their laws. My rules alone shall you observe, and faithfully follow my laws." (Leviticus 17) Sounds pretty "totalitarian" to me! Yet strangely, one never hears those who would use that very word to describe Stalin or Mao use it to describe God! But sure enough, it gets worse. Following the passage mentioned at the end of Part 2, where God describes homosexuality as an "abhorrence," the Lord proceeds to threaten the Israelites: "Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, for it is by such that the nations I am casting out before you defiled themselves. Thus, the land became defiled... You must not do any of these abhorrent things...for all those abhorrent things were done by the people who were in the land before you, and the land became defiled." (Leviticus 18)

Thus, not only does God demand complete obedience to all of his laws, which include laws that label homosexuality as an abhorrence, but he goes one step further and implies that he will smite the Israelites completely, just as he did the Egyptians, if his laws are not followed. God elaborates on the exact forms that this "smiting" will take in a lengthy passage further along in Leviticus:

If you do not obey me and do not observe all these commandments, if you reject my laws and spurn my rules....I will in turn do this to you: I will wreak misery upon you--consumption and fever--which cause the eyes to pine and the body to languish; you shall sow your seed to no purpose, for your enemies shall eat it.... I will make your skies like iron and your earth like copper.... And if you remain hostile toward me and refuse to obey me, I will go on smiting you sevenfold for your sins. I will loose wild beasts against you and they shall bereave you of your children and wipe out your children.... I will bring a sword against you to wreak vengeance for the covenant; and if you withdraw into your cities, I will send pestilence among you...but if despite this, you disobey me and remain hostile to me, I will act against you in wrathful hostility; I, for my part, will discipline you sevenfold for your sins. You shall eat the flesh of your sons and daughters....I will spurn you. I will lay your cities in ruin....I will scatter you amongst the nations and unsheathe the sword against you. Your land shall become a desolation and your cities a ruin....These are the laws, rules, and instructions that the Lord established through Moses on Mount Sinai, between himself and the Israelite people. (Leviticus 26)

To be continued: Part 3b--more examples from the Mosaic books of how Godís rule was based on terror directed at all those who dared to dissent from his laws.