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This past Easter season, Shalom Auslander, a Jewish author, wrote an opinion piece for the New York Times in which he proposed getting rid of God. (Of course, he obviously meant give up the notion of God, as no one has any power to actually get rid of Him.) It needs to be understood that even though Auslander is Jewish, he is not a practicing Jew. He is Jewish by heritage, but as far as his religious faith, he is a self-identified Atheist.
According to his own testimony, Auslander grew up in an orthodox Jewish home and was raised by true believers. He shares that just before Passover when he was eight years old, he and a group of his Jewish friends had a session with their rabbi who shared with them the story of the Exodus to prepare them for the coming celebration. In telling the story, the rabbi shared how the Jews put the blood of sheep over their doorposts so that the angel of death would pass over their homes while going through the entire country killing the first born of all Egyptians and their animals.
Seemingly, this story horrified Auslander, and over the next several years he began to question more and more not only his Jewish faith, but the very notion of God. He began to see God as a horrible person. After all, how in the world could a good god kill all of those innocent people?
As Auslander continued to develop his personal theology, he came to believe that one of the main reasons there is so much hatred and killing in the world is that people see it as something approved by God himself, since he randomly slaughtered so many people. And as a solution to ending all of the hatred, Auslander suggests, “I propose we pass over something else: God.”
Auslander is not, of course, the first person to suggest this solution. Atheists from long ago have proposed the same thing – and many of them for the same basic reason. The idea that since God was responsible for the indiscriminate killing of so many people, he must be evil and is not worthy of being followed. Well, there are some serious problems with this reasoning, and the folks who promote this point of view don’t seem to have the ability to understand the faultiness of their own arguments.
Perhaps the first problem relates to the fact that they are assuming a particular structure of morality without any basis for making their moral claim. If they don’t believe in a transcendent source for morality, then how in the world can they claim that anything is moral or immoral. In fact, with that kind of reasoning, even murder or genocide can be deemed okay if it advances some societal good based on their beliefs. And who is to say whether something constitutes a societal good. All they have is their personal preference.
A second fatal flaw in their argumentation is that they entirely dismiss the very notion of the existence of God without any objective reason to do so. They typically demand that Christians prove God’s existence using some kind of empirical methodology. At the same time, they believe they can just decree that God does not exist and not be bound by their own empirical demands.
A final fatal flaw is that they totally misinterpret what the Bible teaches. For instance, Auslander’s understanding of God, as He is described in the Bible, is totally false. He resorts to judging God’s actions without having any legitimate basis for doing so. The God he is criticizing is not the God of the Bible. He has no understanding whatsoever of the biblical concepts of righteousness, justice, and love.
The kinds of arguments Auslander puts forth are simply meaningless. If he can’t put forth an argument that is consistent with his own philosophical demands, and he doesn’t even understand what he is arguing against, what gives his point of view any credibility at all?
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
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