The Religion of Love?


On of the biggest and most impressive feats of modern theology is to manage to present the core concept of Christianity as a "doctrine of love”.

A divine love without limits. The Church has effectively sold the idea that Christianity is the sole guarantor and custodian of the humane values. The theologians claim that the universal love of God is the dominant point in Christianity. They can do this safely assured that most of the congregation does not read in the Bible much. If they should happen to read in it, they will never read it with a critical eye because “everybody knows” that the Bible is such an infallible, glorious and elevated piece of art. For so the Church has told us for 2000 years. Any disturbing stories in the Bible is only metaphorical you know.

Scientific progress and the general improved level of knowledge in modern society has changed what parts in the Bible that still can be considered as valid truths, and what has to be considered as allegorical stories. The eternal truths of yesterday are today only metaphorical allegories. Parts of the doctrine the Church used to burn people alive for not believing, even the theologians themselves do not believe in anymore.

The very strange "love" of Jehovah
Our “knowledge” of Jehova/Yehowah aka Yahweh is the texts in the Old Testament (OT). In this part of the Bible the Lord's actions, his laws and rules, opinions and personality are presented for the readers. It is also in OT he speaks directly to his subjects and directly intervenes in history. God is portrayed as an obsessive, strict, intolerant, unpredictable, judgmental, punishing, revenging and cruel God. “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God”. (Heb 10,31). His only “good” side is that he sometimes assists his chosen people in their endless quarrels with their desert- neighbours, by killing thousands and unleashes nasty plagues over the enemies of the Jews. However, killing men, women and children by the thousands, is hardly qualifying as a “good quality” by any standard.

The Lord Almighty is mainly occupied by demanding to be worshipped as the only true God, and to receive sacrifices from his humble subjects. He is, according to the OT, particularly fond of burnt offerings; especially he likes the wonderful scent of scorched birds, charred lambs, goats and cattle. Any violation of any of his multitude of strange rules is harshly punished, usually with death. He is also prone to send all kinds of disasters and mayhem over his mortal creations. So the concept of “boundless love” is not exactly the most prominent characteristic in the Bible’s presentation of Jehovah. The concepts of sin, shame, punishment, fear of God, sacrifice, penitence, vengefulness and intolerance are on the other hand very prominent in the texts. Jehovah’s very peculiar and strange definition of love is also solely reserved for his own chosen people, that is, if they obey and worship him.

Even so, his chosen people cannot always count on his goodwill, because he also enjoys punishing them too now and then (1 Chr 21,14; 2 Chr 13,15-17; Ex 32,25-28; 2 Sam 24,15; Num 16,46-49; Num 25,3-11; Am 4,10-11: Judg 20,18-21: Judg 20,25; Ezek 11,6-10; 1 Cor 10,8-10). (By the way, where was he when six million of his own chosen people were killed in concentration camps during WW II??)

Even if we choose to read the unpleasant parts of Gods rampant punishments and slaughtering of people as only allegories, they are can hardly be seen as “allegories” of “a loving God”, or interpreted as a “message of love” in any way whatsoever.
In short, in OT God is portrayed as, and acts like, a deranged devil!

For the love of Jesus?
In the four gospels Jesus enters the scene, and it’s usually him the theologians like to refer to when working themselves up preaching about the fabulous “message of love” in Christianity. According to the gospels, Jesus says one should love your enemies, answer evil with good and turning the other cheek. Firstly, this is hardly something original for Jesus, but sayings we find in earlier texts (ex. by Plato; Confucius, Buddhism, Hinduism a.o.) Secondly, Jesus also have enemies, he calls them vipers and serpents (Mt 3,7; 23,33; Lk 3,7) and commands his enemies to be brought before him and slaughtered (Lk 19,27), and those who are not with him are against him, - and thus condemned to eternal torture in Hell (Mt. 12,30; Lk 11,23, Mk 9,40). (read more here).

Jesus is fact the only prophet in the Bible constantly threatening people with eternal pain in Hell if they don’t believe in him as the Messiah. This categorical intolerance and threatening with hellfire can hardly be considered as a “message of unbounded love and compassion”. Jesus’ teachings are at best confusing, at their worst disturbing. So where the theologians got the idea that the core message in Christianity is God’s love and compassion, I do not know. You certainly don’t find much of it in the Bible.

The Church's wonderful history of love
How has the theologian’s alleged “message of love” in Christianity been practiced through history by the Church and God's representatives on earth? Where is the love and compassion in the numerous religious wars, in the 2000 year long persecutions of Jews, in the crusades or the slaughtering of natives in America, in the Inquisition and flaming heretic- and witch pyres, in the brutal and merciless Christian criminal laws?

Nowadays, the Bible, the very infallible and holy foundation of Christianity, inspired by the Holy Ghost himself, - is suddenly not infallible anymore? According to the theologians, we now have to read the Bible in view of its time. Oh, I see! The theologians and the Church obviously mean that an evil felony becomes less evil if it is a long time since it was committed, and if that kind of thing were more common at the time? For example, that an old killing is less criminal and sinful than a brand new one, and that one murder justifies another, after the good old “an eye for an eye”- rule.

The usual defence is that God is not to blame for the Church’s intolerance, violence and crimes up through history, the atrocities were all done by evil men. And that all these men when acting on behalf of and in the name of God, were not really “genuine Christians”. But, at which point in history were the Church and the Christians “genuinely” Christian then?? During the Religious Wars? During the Crusades, the Inquisition, the Witch hunts? During the 1700 year long persecutions of the Jews?! The Christian Church has not been really “Christian” until recent times then??

“And what can we say about a Church, which indeed promises its followers eternal salvation, but at the same time condemns the non-believers and everyone thinking differently, to eternal torture in hell?
– If that Church wants to talk about love, then it should do so very, very quietly.”

Arnulf Øverland
(Norwegian author and poet)