Greek European Culture

Christianity, Orthodox Christianity, Philosophy

Is the God of the Old Testament Barbaric?

A visitor of these pages asks:

The Old Testament, though, often presents God as a warrior — someone rather tribal, “wild”, & judgmental, quick to kill or disown for transgressions, apparently sanctioning revenge, even ordering what looks to be exterminations during war… Mystery I know to accept, but I don’t know how to deal with apparent contradiction… I looked for a book addressing the subject, perhaps titled something like “How to Read & Understand the Old Testament”, but have not been able to find one. Thanks for any suggestions or guidance.

Dear Jack, I respect very much your own good will, but answering to you I will have in mind mainly some other people, that try to diminish the value of the Old Testament without reason. The question if the God ‘of the Old Testament’ is barbaric, is a wrong question, unless we cut and stitch the New Testament in measures that do not exist in herself. Why the God ‘of the Old Testament‘ is savage and brutal – but not the God ‘of the New Testament’, who sends one Plague after another, turns water into blood, and places the large number of all population to the eternal Hell?


  1. rick

    one thing that strikes me everytime i look into such issues is christians pick and choose what they wanna say from the bible. they will always nullify all the barbaric and ridiculuous things in the bible by quoting how jesus died for our sins etc (john 3:16). but essentially, the god of the old testament is the god of the new testament.

    the god of old testament is only 1000 to 3000 earlier than the god of the new testament. can an eternal god change his attitude in such a short time? no. according to the bibile, god said ‘i change not’.

    yet if you read Judges chapter 19 verse 24 to 29, you will see a man allow his wife/concubine (coincidentally labelled as an unfaithful one) to be gang raped throughout the night and left to die on the door step. When he found her, all he said as ‘get up, it is time to go’. after realising she is dead from her ordeal, he cut her up limb from limb into 12 pieces and send it to 12 tribes in israel to incite a war.

    i”m a guy and i think it is extremely barbaric. And I don’t ever think this chapter has ever been discussed on a cherry sunday morning service. i nearly vomitted when i first read that chapter.

    quite hyprocrites. christians will always try to come up with some answers to justify such things in the bible and wrap everything up with ‘ for god loves us so so much that he sends his only son jesus to earth and die for our despicable sins’.

  2. This event described in Judges 19 may have shocked you, but it does not support your case. First of all, it does not speak about a brutal action ordered by God, but by men. The woman that was raped and murdered is nowhere described as “unfaithful” as you inaccurately say, and the event itself (which regards divisions and fights between tribes of Israel) is punished in the next, 20th, chapter of the Judges.