My Crazy Journey in Search of God, Faith, Reason & Truth

The God of Abuse?

Does the God of the Bible act like an abusive lover or spouse? 

Below is a great article that compares attributes of God as portrayed in the Bible with an abusive spouse or lover.  Some of the comparisons of God’s words and actions are chillingly reminiscent of an abuser. What do you think?  Based on the Old Testament prophets’ depictions of God, is God someone you would want your daughter to date or marry?

The God of Abuse- ExChristian.Net – Articles.


Comments on: "The God of Abuse?" (12)

  1. The Old Testament God definitely fits the profile of a domestic abuser. He demands absolute obedience, blames his wife (Israel) for all problems in the relationship, constantly belittles her, and brutally punishes her for real or imagined transgressions. God’s relationship with Israel follows the standard pattern of building tension, then abuse, then a “honeymoon” phase.

    What a jerk!

    • It is very disturbing, isn’t it? I have had dear friends who clung to the verse, found in Job (I think?), “Though he slay me, yet will I praise him.” Also, to me, one of themes of the bible seems to be, “God created man and God can decide what to do with that man, whether God wants to use him as a vessel of glory or a vessel of dishonor- it’s up to God!” When I was a fundamentalist, I was taught that we have no right to judge our creator and so I didn’t, not for a long time. But once you set that idea aside and start to question the belief system, the bible’s portrayal of God does make him look, as you said, like a Jerk!

      Thanks for commenting!

  2. I love those articles. Some of them, anyway.

    • Hi Lorena!

      Thanks for stopping by the blog! Sorry it took me so long to respond!

      I love some of those Ex-C articles too! And your blog! They all help me to feel that I am not alone. When I first started going through this process I felt so alone! But great sites, like Ex-C and your blog help me to know there are so many of us out there! Thanks!


  3. The article is a comment from someone who is ignorant of what are written in the bible.

    God gave you a freewill, a choice, to follow Him or not, it’s up to you. A Christian religion is a totalitarian in nature , and very strict. It’s not like what some people think , like you.

    Jesus Christ gave this warning ; Matthew 12:32 ” And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him, but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”
    Just think about it, ..If you speaketh against the Holy Ghost and it shall not forgiven , how much more if you speaketh against God?

    Whether you believe Him or not, He is still God. And He has a promise to all who do not believe and obey Him…ETERNAL PUNISHMENT IN HELL.

    You were not able to comprehend the purpose of God to HIS people, that is why you can say what you said about God.

    • Dove,

      Thanks for visiting my site and for the comment!

      Well, I did ask people what they thought- whether the God of the Old Testament resembled an abuser. I am not sure whether you actually read the linked article as you aren’t specifically addressing the points made in the article. I hope you did. I think the article can help people to look at one of the bible themes with a different paradigm.

      I think what you are saying is that Christianity IS totalitarian in nature and we can either agree with God or else go to Hell? Is that correct? If that is true, then is it your assumption that we must accept God’s totalitarian nature and love him for it and since he is God and we are not- then we don’t even have the right to compare it to an abusive relationship because if God made us and set up the system then that is the way it is and we don’t have any right to complain and judge God on this? Do I understand you correctly?

  4. It’s not my assumption, it’s biblical, that we must accept God’s totalitarian nature.
    Understand the verses:
    Deuteronomy 30:19 -” I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have SET before you LIFE and DEATH, blessing and cursing : therefore CHOSE LIFE, that both thou and thy seed may live.”

    James 2:10–“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and YET stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.”

    You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?
    But indeed, O man, WHO ARE YOU to reply against God?
    Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?”

    Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor, and another for dishonor?

    What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.(Romans 9:19-24)

    So, it is a must to remember this verse and understand it carefully:
    Deuteronomy 32:39–“See now that I, even I, AM HE, and there is NO GOD with me : I KILL, and I MAKE ALIVE ; I WOUND, and I HEAL : neither is there any than can deliver out of my hand.”

    Just THINK !! You may curse Him for all the rest of your life, for all I care, but remember this, your life in this world is so short. And out there, in judgment day, you shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the Holy Angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of your torment ascend FOREVER AND EVER ; and you have NO REST day and night….(Rev. 14:10-11)

    • Dove,

      I apologize that it has taken me so long to reply to your comment. I wish I knew a little bit more about your religious background. Would you tell me a little bit of your background? That is, of course, if you are interested in continuing this conversation. You may also email me at should you wish to continue this discussion privately. I will warn you that my email replies, like my comment replies sometimes takes weeks (or longer) to arrive.

      To me, it is clear you have read your bible. It appears to me that you are certain that the bible has ONE clear consistent message on God. It also appears to me that your viewpoint at times seems very similar to Calvinism (at least in that you say that God is arbitrary and can make us a vessel of mercy or a vessel of destruction). Are you familiar with Calvinism? I don’t know whether you are aware of this, but you have stumbled upon one of the major disputes of the Protestant Church! The question of freewill! There are many different viewpoints on how scripture is to be understood and many different viewpoints on whether we have freewill to choose to come to God! Here is a brief summary from a Bible-believing site on 2 major viewpoints within the protestant church, Calvinism and Arminianism.

      For example, to follow your logic (which is similar to the Calvinist viewpoint (as I understand it)) that God is arbitrary and can choose to create us for destruction or for salvation would mean that WE CAN’T just choose to follow God. It is therefore not up to us!

      You also told me “God gave you a freewill, a choice, to follow Him or not, it’s up to you. It’s not like what some people think , like you.” However, if God is the one who elects who will be saved or who will be destroyed, then it really isn’t up to me, is it? If you believe that I have the ability to choose God, that is more of an Arminian view. Remember, the Bible tells us that God hardened the heart of Pharoah so that he would not let the Israelites go and so that Egypt would be judged. So Pharoah did not have free will.

      I have a feeling you may tell me that you don’t care about Calvinism or Arminianism, but what I would like to suggest to you is that the Bible may be much more complex than you understand. Theologians who studied the scriptural texts for YEARS, in their original languages, as well as studied contemporaneous writings of the old and new testaments have many disagreements as to understanding what the text means to us.

      The reason I say all this, is not because I am trying to pick on you. I would like to suggest, however, that perhaps salvation, as well as understanding the bible and what God may actually be saying either through the bible or through using our reason and intellect to understand Him, may not be quite so simple as believing “God tells us in the bible to believe every single word of it, and he is arbitrary and we must follow him in one particular way, and if you disbelieve any one “fact” in any bible story then you have spoken against God and will burn in hell for all eternity” which is what I hear you saying to me.

      Jesus said, “Follow me!” He never said, “In order to be saved, YOU must literally believe all of the words that are already accepted as scripture and all the words that will be written about me starting from 30 to 50 years after my death and which will be later determined (about 300 years after my death!) by politicians and religious officials of the Eastern Orthodox Church to be canonized to become the New Testament Scripture. This also includes every word which will be included into later translations into other languages 1700 years later. If you do this, then you will be saved.”

      It appears to me that you have conflated the idea of Jesus and God with an literal reading and acceptance of the Bible. You are not alone in this as this is what I find to be the position of many of the “Bible-believing” Churches to equate the words of the Bible as God and Jesus’s literal words. I highly recommend that you look into the history of how the bible books were written and the process by which we received what we have today as the bible. It might not be as simple and straightforward as many christians believe. If you believe that the all of the bible contains God’s literal words, then it would behoove you to find out exactly how this bible was formed. Here is some background material.

      I am going to guess you may be an Evangelical of some sort? I aslo highly recommend the book “Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology”
      It shows that even among bible-believing Evangelicals, Christians reading the very same bible verses can form many different biblical views on subjects such as creation, salvation, universalism, whether the Bible is inerrant or infallible, and infant baptism.

      Again, sorry for the long delay in responding to your comments. You are the first commenter that has suggested that I will burn in hell forever so I had to think about how to lovingly respond in a way that would be helpful to me, you, and to the other blog readers. Your pointed comments help me to think through these issues more clearly, which is one of the reasons I started this blog, so I thank you for that!


  5. Interesting article, I really liked the use of psychology within the context of relationship with God, which can become a co-dependant one, even abusive. I actually find many of the points quite endearing.

    However, it’s one side of the coin, and like any relationship, can be fixed…or do we just give up one everyone?

    See, the problem is God may not actually be the abusive one in the scenario, it’s quite hard to pin that tag on the elusive nature of God. I agree, the scriptures do have a lot of these sayings in the prophets and even the NT uses ‘hell’ to keep people on some level of a leash.

    But faith is like anything else, it grows as we do. Is it God that stays co-dependant or is this the work of an organization (ie: the church) which needs numbers? Is the connection with God as bad as they say it is? There is a 3rd party in the relationship to some degree; that’s usually going to be a problem spot. This was not addressed in the blog.

    However, I believe some people should not follow their faith in God, namely if it is helping them to ruin their lives or promoting a type of unhealthy co-dependency. In the cases of people with mental illness all this crazy talk about God and the devil can make their conditions worsen. Sometimes people have to leave their faith behind, I think it is for the best in some cases.

    • Hi Jason,

      Welcome to the blog! You are right, there are many issues that are not addressed either by me or the original article. Part of the reason I did not comment was because I thought for some people the comparison between God & an abuser would be shocking & blasphemous without my commentary on it! I love to look at the bible texts from a new lens and hope to encourage others to be able to do so as well! I was afraid to scare people away from the original article by my comments! 🙂

      The article is from the site. My sense is that many ex-christians have been exposed to a very literal, fundamentalist interpretation of scripture. We were taught that the bible stories are literaly true. If that is true, then the bible God could share a lot of similarities with an abusive lover.

      As you suggest, there is a 3rd party relationship, which affects our interaction with and understanding of God- I think you are suggesting the 3rd party might be the institutional church? (Or perhaps we Christians are the 3rd party beneficiaries of an agreement between God and the Israelites, or between God and Jesus so that we will no longer see the angry side of God after Jesus?)

      Your point that “is the connection with God as bad as they say it is?” is right on. We are hearing these OT stories from the view of the prophets- perhaps THEY and the cultures that produced and preserved these writings have misrepresented God? Maybe God is not an abuser at all but we have been mistaught from an ancient, patriarchal King versus slave viewpoint? Perhaps the early church has misrepresented the face of God to us based on their societal viewpoints of the early first centuries?

      However, to me, if one believes the bible text literally, it is hard to reconcile our societal concept of parental love with the literal text of “if you don’t serve me I will throw you in Hell forever!”

      You have great points! I hope to hear more from you in the future!

  6. Erica,
    Do you know that Calvinism(Reformed Church) is just one of those so-called harlots and abominations of the earth?(Rev. 17:5)
    Want to know his brothers? They are the ff:
    1. The Anglican 2. Baptist 3. Congregationalist
    4. Evangelical 5. Lutheran 6. Methodist 7. Presbyterian Churches
    Want to know their mother ?
    The Roman Catholic Church.
    Do you know why they are called HARLOTS and ABOMINATIONS?
    Because of their wrong teachings. They are not send by God. “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran : I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied”(Jeremiah 23:21)
    They created their own way:
    ” They all look to his own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter”(Isaiah 56:11)
    So, if you want to follow Jesus Christ, FIND OUT the DOCTRINE !
    ” If any man will do HIS will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself”
    “And NO unrighteousness is in him”(John 7:17-18)
    And if you want to find out and know who really are those SENT OF GOD, try to understand the verses below.
    # “Settle it therefore in your hearts NOT TO MEDITATE before what ye shall answer :
    For I WILL give you A MOUTH AND WISDOM, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist”
    (Luke 21:14-15)
    # ” For he whom God HATH SENT speaketh the words of God : for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him”
    (John 3:34)

    How will you find this particular Church to where that servant belong?
    “Thus saith the Lord, STAND ye in the ways, and SEE, and ASK for the OLD PATHS, where is the GOOD WAY, and WALK therein, and ye shall FIND REST for your souls”(Jeremiah 6:16)
    Is that servant existed in our present time ?
    Y E S !
    Am I that servant ?
    N O !
    Well, next time I will sent to you my E-mail address.

  7. Erica,
    Now to answer the disputed “FREEWILL”.
    Understand the verses:
    # “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have SET before you LIFE and DEATH, blessing and cursing : therefore CHOSE life, that both thou and thy seed may live :”(Deuteronomy 30:19) KJV
    # “It was HE who created man in the beginning, and HE left him in the power of his inclination. IF YOU WILL, you can keep the commandments, to act faithfully is a MATTER OF YOUR OWN CHOICE. HE has placed before you FIRE and WATER : STRETCH OUT YOUR HAND FOR WHATEVER YOU WISH, before a man are LIFE and DEATH, And whichever he chooses WILL BE GIVEN TO HIM. (Sirach 15:14-17) RSV Catholic Edition

    These are the concept of freewill. This is what freewill is all about.
    If you have notice in the King James version, God gave only two choices, and HE even gave man an advice to chose life. So, if man chose death rather than life, it will be given to him.
    Is that make God an abusive? certainly not !
    You see, .. God created man so that HE will know who are those willing to serve HIM. That is His prerogative to know who are loyal to Him. Man was not created to do his own thing. The moment man was born, God already gave him in his heart laws to follow, it called conscience .
    So you have to understand the concepts of why you were created. So do not called God, abusive. You have to learn in your lifetime, of what is the purpose of God for creating you, not wasting time on things that are nonsense.
    Understand the verse:
    “For what is your life ? it is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanished away”(James 4:14)
    That is why, Solomon gave this advise:
    “REMEMBER NOW thy CREATOR in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when you shall say, I have no pleasure in them”
    (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
    I pray that you understand what I’m trying to point out, about freewill.

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