This newest avalanche of persecution is dressed up as rationalism and intellectual superiority- all for the public good. The initial battleground for the New Atheists was the science-lab. The New Atheists felt they were in a safe place. But then Intelligent Design became the worst nightmare of the New Atheists and their scientific arguments. So the battle has now bewilderingly shifted to the library, where theologians and philosophers have been camped. This is great news for western Christianity!
These latest developments remind me of Ghandi's statement- First they ignore us. Then they ridicule us. Then they attack us. Then we win.
One example of the type of New Atheist attack in this battlefield highlights the desperate measures now resorted to. This particular website takes typical (and dare we say- classical) atheist "proof-texts" from the Bible and proceeds to distort their meaning and convince its readers that the God of the Bible, which it pejoratively calls "biblegod", is a mean, cruel, bloodthirsty, hypocritical deity. Its citations are generally those texts which describe God commanding capital punishment under the Old Covenant. These capital punishment proof texts are somehow supposed to prove that God doesn't exist(?).
These kinds of arguments are illogical. But they have the potential to rock the faith of the casual Bible reader. What the average Bible reader may not discern is that the God of the Bible who ordered acts of capital punishment was not being unfair with the guilty- they had willfully slandered His character and defiantly rebelled against his commands. Clearly, the overall presentation of God in the Bible is one of love, compassion, mercy, kindness- but also someone who does not tolerate wickedness, evil, or sin. It is this same God that is spoken of in John 3:16 who so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son into the world to save the world. These type of arguments from atheists are not new. Marcion expressed them as well.
This particular website concludes with the startling assertion-
"CHRISTIANS ARE ANTI-ABORTION ???"
"The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open."
Read Hosea and you will see that this is not a prescription for what God's people should do to Samaritans, but a prophetic description of what would be done to them by invading pagan nations. So in effect, citing this verse by atheists backfires horribly since it highlights the extent of wickedness that people who rebel against God will go to!
The premise of the New Atheists' attack is that "Bible-god" will send people to Hell for not believing right. But this is not the Gospel. The God of the Bible condemns no-one merely for what they believe. People will be condemned to Hell for sinful rebellion- no matter what their religious beliefs. This equally applies to those who "believe" the Bible but live in rebellion to God.
The God of the Bible is not a cruel, maniacal, megalomaniac. He is kind, loving, compassionate and full of mercy. There is no greater demonstration of this than when He became man and lived among us. He suffered more than any other person for doing this. He suffered the greatest humiliation. He was executed justly for claiming to be God while obviously a man. But this He did for us. Some people get it and "see the light". They understand the Gospel because God has opened their spiritual eyes. But another group, which at times seems to be the majority, still choose to rebel and defy their Crucified Maker. The former read the Old Covenant passages of divine capital punishment for rebellion and sense the broken heart of the Great Broken Heart. But like CS Lewis's Uncle Andrew, from the Chronicles of Narnia, all the latter group hear when they read the same passages, is an angry, mangy, lion arrogantly roaring while the children in Narnia hear the most delightful song being sung by a glorious lion.