The following is an article by one of our country's greatest Founding Fathers, Thomas Paine:
The church tells us that the books of the Old and New testament are divine revelation, and without this revelation we could not have true ideas of God.
The Deist, on the contrary, says, that those books are not divine revelation, and that were it not for the light of reason, and the religion of Deism, those books, instead of teaching us true ideas of God, would teach us not only false but blasphemous ideas of him.
Deism teaches us that God is a God of truth and justice. Does the Bible teach the same doctrine? It does not.
The Bible says, (Jeremiah, chap. 20, verses 5, 7) that God is a deceiver, "O Lord (says Jeremiah) thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived. Thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed."
Jeremiah not only upbraids God with deceiving him, but in chap. 4, verse 9, he upbraids God with deceiving the people of Jerusalem. "Ah! Lord God, (says he) surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ye shall have peace, whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul."
In chap. 15, verse 8, the Bible becomes more impudent, and calls God in plain language, a liar. "Wilt thou, (says Jeremiah to God) be altogether unto me as a liar and as waters that fail."
Ezekiel chap.14, verse 9, makes God to say - "If the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord hath deceived that prophet." All this is downright blasphemy.
The prophet Micaiah, as he is called, 2 Chron., chap.18, verse 18, tells another blasphemous story of God. - "I saw, says he, the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the hosts of heaven standing on his right hand and on his left. And the Lord said, who shall entice Ahab, king of Israel, to go up and fall at Ramoth Gilead? And one spoke after this manner, and another after that manner. Then there came out a spirit (Micaiah does not tell us where he came from) and stood before the Lord, (what an impudent fellow this spirit was) and said, I will entice him. And the Lord said unto him, wherewith? And he said, I will go out and be a lying spirit in the mouth of the prophets. And the Lord said thou shalt entice him, and thou shalt also prevail; go out and do even so."
We often hear of a gang of thieves plotting to rob and murder a man, and laying a plan to entice him out that they may execute their design, and we always feel shocked at the wickedness of such wretches; but what must we think of a book that describes the Almighty acting in the same manner, and laying plans in heaven to entrap and ruin mankind. Our ideas of justice and goodness forbid us to believe such stories, and, therefore, we say that a lying spirit has been in the mouth of the writers of the books of the Bible.