One of my favorite blogs, Infidel753, has written a scathing rebuttal to the progressive Christian claim that Jesus overruled the Old Testament evils and replaced them with a kindler, gentler form of spiritual law, citing Matthew 5:17-19 and explaining: (Emphasis added is mine)
All the laws of the Old Testament remain in full force and will continue to be so for as long as the Earth itself exists. If you are a liberal Christian and you claim that Christian morality does not require enforcing Leviticus 20:13 and executing every man who has ever committed a homosexual act, Jesus Christ himself says that you are wrong and that Fred Phelps (“whosoever shall do, and teach them”) is right.
Anyone who still thinks that Jesus changed everything should have a look at this 94 page PDF documenting instances of God’s hate (but use eye protection, for it is an abomination against the eyeballs). Sure, things got a little less genocidey after Jesus showed up, but it was still far from lovey-dovey.
So, let’s review: the Bible is the holy book of the Christian faith, and the only widely accepted source of their God’s teachings. The Bible is full of cruelty, violence, injustice, intolerance, and inconsistencies; it is, as Infidel753 describes it, a book of evil, and (if it were true) describes the activities of a deeply evil being, consumed by jealousy and prone to commit acts of unspeakable horror on a whim. Trying to defend this entity’s actions by citing examples where his capriciousness was inclined toward the generous side is like trying to defend a serial killer because he had an excellent driving record and supported his local PBS station.
So if you’re following a religion that is based on this book, but you are a good person, you are good in spite of it, not because of it. But, if you are not following the book, what is your religion, exactly? The god you know in your heart, based on the optimistic and selective interpretation of this book by good-hearted spiritual leaders? Well, then you’ve made up your own religion, and should probably think up another name for it, because when you identify as a member of a religion based on the teachings in the Bible, you align yourselves with Fred Phelps (remember, he’s right — Jesus said so.)
… i digress
About twenty years ago, I spent almost three years in NA, which is a cult, but that’s another rant entirely. The first thing you are required to do in that program is admit that you’re completely helpless and incurably ill, after which you must come to believe that only a Power greater than yourself can help you. If you are unable to choose any recognized deity, they will tell you to pick anything – the doorknob, the toaster, anything. And what is the point of that, one wonders? I would try to make a clever observation about how one’s reflection in the usually shiny surfaces of both those things is still you, it’s just distorted to the point of being nearly unrecognizable, but I feel like that would be pushing it. My point is, it doesn’t matter what you call what you believe in, it’s still just you looking back at you. If you are a genocidal asshole, you’ll see Fred Phelps’ version of a hateful and sadistic psychopath. If you’re a good and decent person, you’ll see a kindly long-haired hippie roaming the countryside feeding the hungry and healing the leopards. What you see in that entity you believe created you in his image is just you.