Jehovah’s Linguistic Land Grab
Is your god patient?
Not if he’s the god of the bible. According to the theology of most Evangelicals, Jehovah’s wrath is so intense over the first offense of any human that he immediately deems the offender deserving of eternal torture. No joke. One offense by any offender is sufficient to incur a divine wrath so terrible that “there will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth” for eternity awaiting that offender when they die.
“Can’t god do what he wants?” you may ask.
Sure. There is nothing illogical about a malicious god. God can be as mean-spirited as he wants to be. But in addition to being malicious, the god of the bible is then also a liar since he claims to love the very humans he damns to hell-fire over a single offense. This god of the bible unequivocally claims in 1 Corinthians 13:4 that love (agape) is patient. If god loses his temper over the first offense, and deems eternal torture the only thing that will appease his anger, just how much space is left over for patience?
Normally when we think about patience and impatience we think of 2 extremes with a soft delineation somewhere in the middle such as is shown in the following image.
Here patience and impatience fall on a normal continuum. Because words belong to human convention, the standard for the extremes ought to reflect human sentiments about patience and impatience. For example, you’re not likely to find any human willing to say that “patience” could be attributed to a person who is not only offended at the 1st offense, but so angered by the offense that he wants to eternally torture the offender. Clearly such an response to a single offense would conventionally be positioned towards the far right of the patience/impatience continuum. This response to a single offense is precisely the response of the god of the bible to a first offense. There is therefore no rational way we can claim that the god of the bible could ever be considered “patient”.
But wait! What if we simply redefine “patience”? What if we take the word away from human convention, and simply say anything that our “patient” god does is by our imposed definition “patient”. In this way, we are immune from the attack of non-believers since we have simply taken possession of the word, and have redefined it to match our scriptures. Isn’t this legitimate? Let’s just pretend that anything god does we can tag “patient”. How dare ordinary humans think they can define concepts as they experience them! If what seems like impatience to humans is seen in the character of god, it is merely an illusion, for we obviously must expand our definition of patience to include all of god’s actions, right?
Wrong. Calling an alligator fuzzy will not cover the alligator in fuzz. It will only pervert the conventional meaning of the word. Arguing that the word “fuzzy” is by definition what alligators are will not redeem the absurdity of a leathery alligator being tagged with a word that convention has determined means having fuzz of some sort. This is the absurdity of christian thinking, and is diagrammed below.
This Christian inversion and perversion of human definitions of terms is also applied to other dichotomies such as love/hate and just/unjust. They simply claim that whatever god does is patient, loving and just, then smugly claim god to be immune from any assessment of his character.
This dishonest tactic is applied by theists of all stripes with a straight face and apparently no shame. Can these theists actually believe what they are saying? Let me suggest that they do not. I would argue that were a theist to hear his neighbor claim that he was a loving, patient and just father, then proceeded to eternally torture his young child upon that child’s first offense, the theist would (justifiably) call that neighbor a liar. They have not actually given up the conventional human definitions of “love”, “patience” and “justice”. They only pervert these conventional definitions to something close to their inverse in a dishonest defense of their god’s malicious actions.
It appears clear to me that no christian can claim their god to be loving, patient and just without real cognitive dissonance. Only well-practiced self-deceivers can emphatically justify their god’s actions through the perversion of terms to close to their inverse. I used to be such a self-deceived apologist for this particular god…to my shame.