This is a response to Churchburners blog, "God was Testing Me." He brought up so many topics that it was impossible to address them in the comments section.
"Christians are living in fear of an evil, jealous, vengeful god." First of all as a self-proclaimed atheist you must define what is evil and you should identify a condition for which you can recognize it. If you are truly an atheist then you must have a standard to which you recognize as what is evil and what is not. Without a standard (and it has to be something other than your own opinion of what is moral or immoral) then you really cannot say what is and is not evil. If you cannot truly say what is and is not evil, then you cannot accuse God of being evil. Jealous: God is not jealous in the sense that He covets something that does not already belong to Him. Unlike humans who are jealous for things they want from others (money, possessions, good looks) Gods jealousy stems from the very thing that is already His. Exodus 20:4-5 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord you God, am a jealous God..." God is only jealous when someone is giving something to others that rightly belongs to Him. In this verse, God is speaking of people who make idols and worship them rather than give God the worship that belongs to Him. The word jealous when referring to God has a different meaning. Here is a practical example. If a husband sees another man flirt with his wife, the husband has every right to be jealous, because he is the only one who has the right to flirt with his wife. This type of jealousy is not wrong and is entirely appropriate. Jealousy is wrong when it is a desire for something that does not belong to you. God does not do this. Vengeful: the word vengeance in the Bible is not referring to the modern type of vengeance that most people associate with vindictiveness. God's vengeance is used in the intervention and rescuing of His people, such as the Israelites of the OT. God delivered the Israelites from their enemies on many occasions. God was not acting out just to wreak havoc, He was removing Israels enemies.
"It is important to wake people up and show them that they have been brainwashed."Brainwashed can be a relative term. Are we talking about sleep deprivation and mind control? Please define brainwashing. Do we brainwash our children to believe in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy? Do we brainwash our children to think that our favorite pro sports teams are the best and that all others are sub par? What makes you think you have not been brainwashed to so adamantly disbelieve in a higher power? True Christianity is about freewill, not brainwashing.
"Religion has been behind most of the wars in our history or has helped motivate people to kill each other." Simply not true. Religion has been the driving force behind many wars throughout history such as the Crusades, the French Religion War, The 30 Years War, etc, but religion has not been the primary reason for war. Ideology has been a bigger factor for causing wars than religion. The two biggest wars of the 20th century (WWI and WWII) had nothing to do with religion. The Jewish Holocaust and the communist revolutions of Russia, China, Southeast Asia and Cuba were a result of ideologies. They have accounted for the deaths of anywhere from 50-100 million people. It would be very easy to make the case that more people have died as a result of ideological reasons than religious causes. Nazi ideology is to rule over what would be considered inferior races and Communist ideology is the ruling over others in general. In fact communism is an atheistic ideology. The primary cause for all war is the evil nature and imperfection of man. Humans are the cause of all war. They use religion, ideology, politics, vengeance, etc, as reasons to go to war.
"I know people who have wasted their life on their knees praying to an imaginary god with all the time to spend and God did not bless them." As we discussed in an earlier debate you cannot possibly know for sure if God does indeed exist or not. To know this for sure is to claim that you know all things which you do not. Faith and freewill are two driving forces for individuals to pray to God. It is a persons right to pray to whomever they so choose and if a person finds happiness, hope or comfort in doing so then who are you to judge?
"This Christian God, Yahweh or Jehovah is supposed to be all knowing, in your Bible it says He knows your whole life.." God is all knowing and yes he does know ones life from beginning to end. God is omnipotent. 1John 3:20 "For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things." This is just one example from the Bible stating God knows all things. "...testing is for humans who dont already know, for God to test something is against His all knowing nature, therfore God has no need to test anything." You are right, God does not need to test anything. God does not conduct tests as if He were conducting a science experiement, He already knows the outcome of every test or situation. The tests, trials and tribilations are for us in order to teach us and reveal His will to us. Gods trials and tibulations produce perserverance, develop a godly character and give us hope.
"Testing is a human trait not a godly one." As previously stated God does not test to determine the outcome of an experiment, only humans do, so yes in that sense testing is a human trait. "So why would God make a wager with satan if He already knows what will happen? Why would God allow Job's family to be killed if He already knew the outcome?" God did not put Job to the test, satan did. Satan basically declared war on Job and told God the only reason Job was faithful to Him was because God had blessed Job. God being all knowing already knew satan was wrong, but He allowed satan to test Job in order to prove satan wrong. God prevented satan from killing Job and his wife, so Job did not lose all of his family.
"Why would God put the tree of life in the Garden of Eden if He already knew Lucifer would tempt Eve? Why would God ask Cain Where is your brother if He already knew what he would say?" God put the Tree of knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden to give Adam and Eve a choice to obey or disobey Him. Adam and Eve were free to do as they pleased and they chose to disobey God. God did not want them to sin, but He knew they would. Eating from the tree was an act of disobedience and it revealed the nature of sin and evil to Adam and Eve. God allowed satan to tempt Adam and Eve in order to force them to make a choice and they chose of their own free will. God asked Cain, "Where is your brother" because He was forcing Cain to answer and giving him a chance to be honest. Of course God already knew the answer, God was showing Cain He knows all things. Obviously if God did not already know that Cain killed Abel He never would have asked Cain the question in the first place. It is no different than a parent asking a child, "What happened in school today" when the parent already knows the answer because the principal called and told the parent. Many times I have asked my children a question I already knew the answer too. I ask them because I am giving them a chance to be honest.
"God was created by man, not the other way around, that is why you see such human traits attributed to God." Simply put, that is not true. Genesis 1:27 "So God created man in His own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female He created them." Genesis 2:7 "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and he breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." These are just two examples out of the Bible of God creating man. Remember, it says in the Bible that God created man in His own image, so it can be seen that man did not create God.