Every day is a good day for activist atheists to attack God. But no time is better than during one of the holiest weeks of the year. This time, Holy Week gets the honor, via a New York Times guest op-ed. To paraphrase Rahm Emanuel, never let a good religious holiday (or several at once) go to waste.
The op-ed, titled “In This Time of War, I Propose We Give Up God,” was of course published on Good Friday. And who wouldn’t exploit a brutal war, about which a case is being made to bring war crimes charges against Vladimir Putin and his Red Army, to go after God? Despicable. The Times piece, I mean.
After turning his back on Orthodox Judaism, writer Shalom Auslander became a successful author, which is evident in his essay, beginning with cleverly using Passover — and the Russia-Ukraine War — to claim God is responsible for “war and violence” and “oppression and suffering,” and to suggest people stop teaching children about God.
This weekend, Jews around the world will celebrate the holiday of Passover, the name of which comes from the story of God “passing over” the homes of our distant ancestors on his way to slaughter the first born sons of evil Egyptians.
Our forefathers, the story goes, marked their doorposts with lamb’s blood in order to spare their own sons the awful fate of their enemies.
In this time of war and violence, of oppression and suffering, I propose we pass over something else:
Not to sound like Mr. Obvious, but aren’t times of trouble, war and violence included, when people of faith turn to God for solace? Auslander then gets more aggressive — and graphic:
God, it seems, paints with a wide brush. He paints with a roller. In Egypt, said our rabbi, he even killed first-born cattle. He killed cows. If he were mortal, the God of Jews, Christians and Muslims would be dragged to The Hague. And yet we praise him. We emulate him. We implore our children to be like him.
Perhaps now, as missiles rain down and the dead are discovered in mass graves, is a good time to stop emulating this hateful God. Perhaps we can stop extolling his brutality. Perhaps now is a good time to teach our children to pass over God — to be as unlike him as possible.
‘Why did God kill the first-born cattle?’ my rabbi said. ‘Because the Egyptians believed they were gods.’
And we humans, made in his image, do the same. With fixed-wing bombers and cluster bombs, with self-propelled mortars and thermobaric rocket launchers.
Killing gods is an idea I can get behind.
Perfectly “logical,” isn’t it? No bone(s) to pick in the least.
My purpose in writing this article was not to engage in a theological debate or any other kind of debate about the existence of God. I will leave that to those more theologically qualified to do so, and atheists who are not content with being nonbelievers themselves, but must also preach their beliefs to others.
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