From my twitter feed this morning:
The first thing to notice about this is that, as with most things said by the New Atheists, it’s an emotional appeal. This is not a rational, logical objection to the coherence of Christian and Jewish theology. He’s not saying that our theology is inconsistent or nonsensical, he’s saying he doesn’t like it. He’s saying that God is mean.
Now the really interesting part: how does he know that God is mean? By what standard has he determined that it really is wrong for God to expect worship and to punish those who reject him? This is amazing! Here is an atheist who is claiming an absolute moral standard. Where he got it from, he doesn’t say here. Not only is it an objective moral standard that applies to real people who exist (presumably along the lines of “How dare you indoctrinate your children with fairy tales,” or “How dare you believe anything without evidence that would convince me.”) Not only does it apply to human beings that exist, somehow it applies to God even though there is no such person. Somehow in a universe in which God does not exist, there is a moral standard for how he ought to behave if he did exist. I suppose this code also covers what diet is permissible for vampires and whether werewolves are liable for the damage they cause as wolves.
So how does Mr. Gale know? What standard does he appeal to that determines which ideas are beautiful and which are horrendous? We Christians say there is such thing as a moral code that applies to everyone, and for us it actually makes sense because we say it was laid down by God. The atheist has no platform he can stand on by which to judge the behavior of any other sentient being with any more force than that he doesn’t like it. (I don’t like it when people drive 10mph under the speed limit, but that doesn’t make it wrong.) What’s more, look at the hypocrisy involved. If Christians dare suggest that other people are required to follow God’s moral law, the atheist is outraged. And yet they have no qualms about applying their moral standard, not only to other people, but even to God. Be very careful, Mr. Gale. If it’s true that יהוה does not exist, then this statement is an incoherent absurdity. If he does exist, it’s far worse.
“Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The saying of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord GOD. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord GOD; so turn and live.”