WHY IT IS SINISTER TO SAY ANYBODY IS MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD

 
God by definition is what ultimately counts and matters.  God alone matters for if he makes all things from nothing and does not have to then your value is not a right but a gift.  The Bible says that man and woman were made in the image and likeness of God.  So he gives them the value he gives himself.  Man and woman represent God.  To hurt them is to hurt God's property, God's representatives, God's gifts.  God cannot be literally hurt but this is the only way to really "hurt" him.  It insults the love he has for them.

 

Now if there is no God this attempt to give value to human nature backfires for those who hurt others are accused of being worse than what they actually are. It accuses and hints that those who do not believe in God cannot have a proper view of the value of human beings and thus are indirectly and sometimes directly to blame for the atrocities in the world.  This is a murderous accusation in principle and sometimes in practice if it is not true.

 

Religion sometimes makes people feel good with its suggestion that they are made in the image of God as in Genesis 1:27. This, the first book of the Bible says God made them male and female in his image.  Man and woman reflect God and God's pronouns are HE and HIM.  God is not said to have made them male and female in his and her image.

 

Being like God does not imply that one has any dignity of one’s own. Rather it implies that if it does confer dignity then it is really God who is honoured for only the likeness to God in you really matters and not you. You don’t matter for yourself but for him. Anyway being like God does not mean you are important any more than your image looking and talking like you on TV is important as a person.


Traditionally the notion we are in the image of God supposedly refers to our uniqueness in nature with regard to how we have the power to think and discover and have free will. Some object to this as it implies babies and brainwashed or intellectually damaged people for example are not in the image of God. But the doctrine says even then there is no room for inequality. The person is meant to have those abilities and if he or she was healed she would have them. The person is ordered to be healthy and happy and if that does not happen its bad BECAUSE the person has dignity not because they don't or have less value.  Ordered to would assume that something has planned and designed us and our lives.  Christians say God has done this.

 

Those who reject the notion that we should link our being in the image of God with volition and thinking ability propose that as God has the power of self-giving love we are chiefly the image of God in that way. They surmise that the image refers to our power to give agape – love without reasons and wanting anything back. This is totally absurd. Babies do not love that way. If you are in a coma you don't love that way. 1 John 4 says that God is love and we must reflect love. But it does not say that this is the only way we can act like the image of God that we are. 


The argument then that the image refers to agape or selfless devotion and service to others, unselfish love, actually dehumanises people who seem very weak in that area.  It is hypocritical to complain that to say the image of God refers to our power to create actions of our free will and to think and to understand is insulting people with say mental problems and ignore the fact that there are many of them who cannot do selfless love either. The best position seems to be that all of the suggestions about what the image is are true.  I'd object though that as Genesis assumes Adam and God and Eve had memory, understanding, thinking ability and free will and there is no teaching endorsing agape in the book that agape is definitely out. 

 

A God who sends floods to drown the human race for being evil shows that he worries more about evil than people.  By taking evil that seriously he clearly values it more than he does people and children even.  Needless to say, nobody calls that good and bad streak the reason why we can be said to be the image of God.  God and us are bad at times.  The human being the image of God does not mean God has great respect for you then!  The religious argument that we are God's likeness and so we need respect is worthless for you cannot speak for a God who may override it.
 
The Genesis story keeps saying that God found value in all he made and as his image, man and woman are to receive the value he gives them and to project it back like mirrors. He simply says it is very good.   If you say the image of God doctrine confers importance on human beings you are saying that Atheists do not regard people as important – a hate-ridden stance to have.
 
To honour a person because they are the image of God is to honour the image of God, to honour God, not them. It is not about the person.
 
God is perfect and people with disabilities would be less important than fit people because they are physically imperfect. They would be further from the image of God. The doctrine reeks of Nazi master race ideology and yet it is the principle inference from the image of God theology in the Church.
 
The Church may say that the image of God is chiefly in the soul but this does not help the Church to avoid this accusation. It is because the way the body is that the Church infers that a human being is a person with a soul – an approach that declares the more disabled you are the less likely it is that you are a real person with a soul. I know nobody would question that a deaf person is a person but when you accept the principle that being in the image of God makes you a person it means you are slightly less likely to be a person and entitled to less respect and rights if you are deaf.

 

God made us in his image - that saying surely means or at least advocates that we see that if we had all the information God had we would do the same as what he does even down to sending a worldwide flood and having adulteresses stoned and girls of 10 carrying babies because of the Holy Spirit.
 
No matter what way you look at the image of God doctrine it degrades human dignity. To say as believers say that you should love God because he is all-good or perfection itself is to insult the more imperfect of us. Christians will say that God became a plain looking man who suffered and was frail so this is not true. But they say that God did not have to do this which means they would worship him as much if he didn’t so it is still as insulting as ever. They are good at the false charm.
 
You don’t need to do bad deliberately to be a bad person. All you need to be bad is to cause more harm than good. As a deaf person, I am bad in this definition. That is annoying and insulting enough but if you say that God made the laws that made me deaf that is worse. It is better to hear that chance made me bad rather than that it was done by God who is supposed to be an all-good being.
 
It is bad enough to say you fall short of good because you are handicapped but worse to say that you fall short of a being that is perfect. Religion will answer saying they can do no better for God exists but that is putting a belief before people. We must not assume God and make everything fit that hypothesis. We must start with what is empirical and learn from experience and from how people live and what and how they are. It is only fair to the people. A belief that insults us is not even to be considered for belief and that is final.
 
God is an insult to decency. People should not be insulted just because people want to believe in him for a belief is not worth more than a person. To call a person bad is to take away dignity and to imply that normal hearing people are better. It follows then that since human beings are the absolute value that no God has the right to let anybody be born deaf or to let hearing be damaged. No purpose can justify this. It is better for us all to have some machine that protects us from all harm than for that to be done and God could tell us how to make one. At least he could give us a machine that makes us better off healthwise.
 
Believers identify God with their morality. They say God is love. For Catholics it is love to prevent couples from using artificial contraception to limit their families. For Christians it is love to do the opposite. For the Catholic, one is more the image of God if one doesn't use contraception. For Christians, it is the opposite. When Christians and Catholics say you are the image of God they are really saying that you should live up to this image and reflect it better - in other words, "We only praise you being the image of God if you do what we would like you to do."

 

The Bible says God is a judge who is angry at sin (Psalm 7:11) so it follows that when we are made in the image of God it follows we are meant to be judges and angry at sin too.
 
Religion says like God we are to love the sinner and hate the sin. But this is impossible. If we can't love the sinner and hate the sin then there is no point in believing in God or claiming to be made in his image. Indeed we know by experience we cannot do it so it would be blasphemous to say we are made in his image when we are like that. It would hardly be flattering to say it!
 
When somebody does wrong to you maliciously, you want to hurt that person back. You hate the sinner and the sin. You see that the distinction between sinner and sin is a distinction without a difference. The sinner is the sin in the sense that sin shows what kind of person the sinner is. Christianity says you must hate the sin but love the sinner which really means, "Hate the sinner but pretend you don't". You feel personal about the sin. You cannot want to hurt a sin but only a sinner. Some say that loving the sinner and hating the sin is the whole point of believing in God for he loves all people and hates their sin and justifies the idea that revenge is wrong which is a basic principle of morality. If that is true then if loving the sinner and hating the sin is impossible then the whole point of believing in God evaporates. Religion pretends it is helping people by saying, "love sinner and hate sin". It is not. It is only giving them a burden of guilt for trying to do the impossible so that people will succumb to religion and its empty promises to help with this guilt. It is urging them to hate people. The lie is about control and enhancing the prestige that religious hypocrisy of that kind enjoys. Belief in God is not about enhancing human dignity but deforming it. It is about pretending you love the image of God in the sinner. As bad as it is to hate a sinner, it is worse if you do so believing they are the image of God. 

 

It is a boast to say that you love God for love is very strong and implies you really know the other person.  But if God is a mystery you don't really know him.  The image of God doctrine supposedly indicates that you can connect with God to know him.  The arrogance of loving God is outrageous and is really the love of the arrogant and the love of arrogance.
 
Loving God is inhuman. It is an intrinsically fascist idea. No wonder believers are often so fascist. Those that aren’t are ether lukewarm or under-informed.



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