1 After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” […] 9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” – Genesis 22, English Standard Version
I don’t understand how a father could begin to go along with this. How the heck do you rationalise it? Setting aside for a moment the question of whether or not I personally believe in God – assume that God does exist, as Abraham is obviously pretty well convinced that he does.
Before God speaks to Abraham here, Abraham must believe either that his God is a good deity, or an evil deity. If he believes that God is evil, why does he want to obey him? If he believes that God is good, why does he believe this instruction comes from God at all? If he previously believed that God was good, and then received this instruction in such a way that it could not possibly have come from anyone other than the deity he believes in, why does he not at this point realise that this deity must actually be evil?
If God is good, he would not demand the sacrifice of a child. If God demands such a sacrifce, then he cannot be good.
I’ve read the argument that since God stops Abraham from killing Isaac, this proves that God isn’t actually evil – he never really wanted Isaac as a sacrifice, he just wanted Abraham to prove his faith.
But Abraham doesn’t know this! When Abraham takes up the knife he truly intends to slaughter Isaac. He truly believes this is what God wants… and he goes along with it. You can say that this demonstrates his faith in God, but I don’t understand why it is considered a good thing to place blind faith in a deity who has just told you to murder an innocent child. Anyone or anything who tells you to do evil is not to be trusted, and certainly not to be worshipped!
If God is truly good, then why does Abraham’s willingness to commit murder in his name please him? Why does he say that Abraham has passed the test, and will be rewarded? If God is good then he should value morality in humans, and he should have explained to Abraham that he just failed the test.