I am not suggesting Christians who preach “believe or go to hell” are the same as religious extremists who behead infidels. I do wish to defend comparisons between Islamic or other religious extremists and certain biblical interpretations that have been suggested. I am not defending Christianity so much, as Jesus never referred to His followers as such. I do wish to defend the Creator written about in the Bible who came in the flesh through Jesus.
The Creator of the universe is referred to as Allah or God. But, Mohammad in the Koran did not claim to be divine but the last of the prophets; Jesus in the Bible claimed to be God. The Bible seems more credible than fabricated, as the empty tomb can stand scrutiny as a historical fact beyond reasonable doubt. Besides, who writes that their leader resurrected when living eyewitnesses could argue to the contrary. Other faiths often rely on a future promise; Christianity relies on a promise that happened in the past. The God of the Bible, who claimed Jesus was His/Her Son, turns out to not have anything in common with religious extremists concerning freedom of beliefs, women’s rights, the killing of women and children, and human sacrifice.
Freedom Of Beliefs
Is God a sadistic torturer if you don’t eventually believe in Him/Her? HELL NO! Hell must be dispelled as a myth for the sake of those who seek to know the Creator. Hell, an invention over the centuries to scare people into submission and obedience, is not a translation but a substitution for certain Hebrew and Greek words. The Greek word Gehenna in the New Testament wrongly translated as Hell was a proper noun and the name of a real valley nearby Jerusalem with a history. Hell is no more a translation of Gehenna than Atlanta is for Chicago. The Bible does not compare to the Koran: “Strike off the heads of the disbelievers”; and after making a “wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives” (Koran 47:4).
God was a respecter of freedom of beliefs from the very beginning. Otherwise, why would a God who is powerful enough to create not annihilate immediately those who choose evil and oppose God? We can believe the God of the Bible upon death will respect one’s choice to spend eternity with their Creator. God’s justice concerning our regrets here on earth may have an educative component and cleansing effect. I cannot imagine anyone would turn down God’s invitation but there are some very evil people who just may choose a second death than spending time in a paradise whether there is equality than dictatorship. Paradise certainly is not a lustful adventure for men only at the expense of women according to the Bible.
Jesus, when asked how to have eternal life, simply said to love God and love others as yourself (Lk.10:25-27). God is not self-centered but a loving God empowering us to love others. Jesus was suggesting that the hope of life forever begins in the present when one looks toward God, whatever knowledge they may have, and strives toward unselfishness. Jesus wasn’t suggesting perfection as the Apostle Paul, once a murderer, was promised citizenship in Heaven upon death on earth (Philip. 3:20). Jesus’ only agenda was to convince people to listen to their heart.
Women are not to be under the authority of men in the God of the Bible eyes, which only encourages dominance on the man’s part and dependence on the woman’s part. Jesus clearly encouraged equality between the sexes and mutual respect against culture norms. The Apostle Paul advised husbands to love their wives as their own bodies. Some religious extremists would rather be dead than advocate for that. One wrote: “What’s the difference between the strain of Islam that proscribes gender roles and its counterpart in Christianity that does the same thing, albeit with a different set of prohibitions?” God from the very beginning created women and men in His/Her image to be fruitful and rule together the earth that God had created (Gen. 1:28).
The Killing of Women And Children
The God of the Bible certainly never approved the rape and slavery of women and children. God preferred the Israelites live in peace with other nations. War was only a necessity in the eyes of God when evil prevailed. God sometimes advised the Israelites in wartimes to destroy the enemies’ land and those who inhabited it, including women and children. God never approved war simply because a nation believed in other gods as opposed to their Creator. But, in OT times men and women would appease the appetites of their supposed gods by sacrificing their children to their gods. Barbaric dictators and cultures exist and innocent lives are lost if the free do nothing. If a child next door is being sexual abused would you do nothing to stop this evil?
The Bible records that evil had become so rampant that God practically destroyed the entire human race, including innocent women and children, during Noah’s time. Evil may have progressed to the level of sacrificing children to supposed gods. God would not have rejected anybody from entering the Ark if they wanted anything to do with Noah’s God. But, who doesn’t understand why family members may not condemn the barbaric behaviors of their husbands and fathers. Corruption though can infiltrate a society so much that a fresh start may be the most merciful thing to do. There may be a better place after death more merciful than abandonment, starvation, or disease when the adult evildoers are expunged. The Flood was not doing evil that good may come; it is ridding of the cancer that can eventually destroy any good for future generations.
The gods of the Old Testament would sometimes demand the sacrifice of children to be appeased. Jesus did not die to appease God’s anger and honor so He/She could love us. The Cross was not meant to change God’s attitude but our attitude toward God. Jesus walked in our shoes, even facing undeserved suffering, to gain credibility and influence. God is not an animal-hating, blood-thirsty Creator. God went with the cultures of the times. God much preferred a “broken and contrite heart” (Ps. 51: 16-17) as opposed to human or animal sacrifice which cannot bring things back such as one’s childhood innocence robbed by an adult abuser. God went to great means to convince us of His/Her unimaginable love and that His/Her ways were truly in our best interests if we only listened to our hearts.
The Creator of the Bible respects forever one’s freedom to believe as they so choose. God is not bias toward men when it came to leadership or decision-making. All are created equally in His/Her image and encouraged to use the gifts they possess. God detests the evil actions of individuals imposed upon others and has approved of wars when necessary for the good of current and future generations. God has always loved us unconditionally and sought to prove that through the life of Jesus. Suffering is inevitable in a world where freedom is part of the creation, but God did not even spare His/Her Son. The God of the Bible and Parent of Jesus is radically different from any God or gods who have existed. God only seeks to inspire us to love one another as we wish to be loved. Is there a better world than that!