Before I really confirmed my atheism, I went searching for religion. I picked up the Bible. My first impression on Moses was this: con-man of the highest class.
Moses lived in hard times. Food depended on the weather, disease was rampant, sanitation scarce, wealth completely unevenly distributed, slavery abundant, and despite what the Bible claimed, lifetimes were brief.
Suddenly, Moses "discovers" the creation of all mankind! Amazing! Moses is the only one who can see this god, the only one who can speak to him. Moses is obviously charismatic. He starts telling people. People listen. Charismatic people can carry out Holocausts, after all. An invisible being who only asks for a few sacrifices in exchange for their own land and eternal reward is not so much of a stretch, right?
Moses lays down some laws via his god to keep his new society in check. His relatives and their generations to follow are appointed the priests that watch over the tent where sacrifices are brought. Who do you think gets to consume all of that? God? *wink, wink, nudge, nudge*
I was impressed by Moses' ingenuity and ambition. It seems that humankind has changed little over the ages. If there is power to be had or if one can find a way to make his way a little easier, he will do it. Even in tent-dwelling, goat-herding times in the middle of the desert.
I was wondering: am I the only one who sees it this way? It was pretty obvious to me, but billions of Christians saw it completely differently: divine, amazing, a man chosen by the deity, etc.
Opinions are welcome.