I always had a soft spot for Goliath


Recently a question was directed at a skeptical group that I belong to: Who was your favourite Bible character? My answer: Goliath. I always had a soft spot for him. I’ll explain.

While researching this post for preview images, I found this article which suggests that David may not have been the underdog after all. As a ranged fighter with his sling-shot, maybe he had the advantage. But that’s not my reason for writing this.

I first heard this story when I was a child, in Sunday school at a Roman Catholic church. I also had a version of it in my children’s Bible.

While everybody else seemed to love the story of the boy, the helpless shepherd who defeated the evil giant against all odds, the story left me distressed and confused as a child. Yes, Goliath was not exactly an innocent, but David killed him.

I didn’t know that the story may not be true, but that wouldn’t have mattered to me then, and it still doesn’t matter now. What mattered then was that I was taught that we should never kill. It’s right there in the 5th commandment, noting that the Catholic version is different to others where it is the 6th – The 5th commandment is “Thou shalt not kill”.

It doesn’t say anything about being allowed to kill sometimes but not others. It just says you shouldn’t kill. And here we have a story where killing an enemy is a cause for celebration!

This distressed me as a child. It’s a contradiction. Either you should be allowed to kill or you shouldn’t. In my child brain, this did not compute. And it isn’t the only example of killing in the Bible. There are many.

A quick search now led me to this Christianity Stack Exchange question that asks when it is OK to kill. The accepted answer also does not compute. It’s an example of someone reasoning away their cognitive dissonance, rationalizing and reinterpreting what’s written in the Bible such that they can still believe it, even though the book is contradictory to the point where it doesn’t make sense. And the accepted answer to this similar question is even worse. It goes on to differentiate between “legal and illegal killing” and states that in those days, “since God was the giver of all laws”, those killings were legal. That’s an even worse example of rationalizing away the contradictions and reinterpreting them so that they are still valid. One has to abandon one’s brain to accept that thousands of years ago, our laws came from God. (Not anymore, eh? God’s been on vacation since then?)

Why would the “one true God”, who had created all of mankind, favour one group over another in war? It is crystal clear that every army believes they have god on their side. In a situation where all these gods were invented by man, isn’t it logical that the victors would then believe that their had god rewarded them, and that is the story we have today? One does not need anything other than the Bible itself to realize that it is not the literal word of God, because no such god exists.

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