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The Tribal Gods

The Tribal Gods
by Dave E. Matson


The Bible has "manmade" written all over it. One of the obvious giveaways is Yahweh's fixation on one little tribe, to the exclusion of a whole world. Yahweh adopts that tribe as his special people, and he leads them in bloody little wars against their neighbors. That is to say, Yahweh acts no differently than Chemosh, the god of the Moabites, or Baal, the storm-god of the Canaanites, or Dagon, or any of the other chief tribal gods in the neighborhood. Each of these primitive gods is concerned with one little tribe, because each was manufactured by that tribe--as a personification of nature.

It never occurred to the ancients to question the morality exhibited by their gods. The fearful forces of nature spoke powerfully and man listened. Who could question the power of lightning or the thumping of giant hailstones or the strength of floods? It never occurred to the ancients that a truly powerful god would not have to act in such clumsy ways, for nature was the only god they knew. It never occurred to the ancients that a truly wise and powerful god would communicate face to face with each man or woman rather than through nebulous dreams, divinations, or (later) vague scriptures and obscure answers to personal supplication. The gods of nature never spoke openly, but rather in whispers and dreams and omens, or so the ancients perceived. It never occurred to them that their gods should be concerned with the well being of all peoples, including their troublesome neighbors. Gods in those days were tribal gods, including Yahweh. They concerned themselves only with their particular tribes.

("On Taking the Bible and Noah's Flood Literally"
- Dave Matson, The Oak Hill Free Press)

On a clear night look up at the sky. Look beyond the stars and into the great void. Are those trillions upon trillions of galaxies out there, stretching across inconceivable distances, each bearing billions of suns that support countless worlds, created for the sake of man alone? Would a rancher carefully prepare 1,000,000 acres in order to house a few ants? Of course not! But religious conceit and the human ego know no bounds, and many people further believe that God is only interested in their little tribe or religious sect out of a whole world of humanity. Such conceit just boggles the mind!


A god smart enough to design a living world--and powerful enough to set galaxies into motion--would have interests as wide as the universe itself. All of humanity would come equally under the caring hand of such a deity. There would be no special people or sect. And, you would never catch such a god leading one tribe in vicious, little wars against its neighbors as though he were a school boy at play!


Since the New Testament is based on the Old, at least according to the authors of the Gospels, and since the Old Testament is built around Yahweh, and since Yahweh is clearly a tribal god, the working brain immediately concludes that the Bible is a manmade work.


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