I’ve been thinking a lot about religion lately. I’m not sure why, I haven’t had any recent run-ins with religion as either a positive or negative, and I haven’t been to church for a long time. But whatever the case, there it is in the back of my mind, mulling over and over, as if I’m on the verge of discovering something new about myself that’s just over the horizon, and I can see the light pollution from it but haven’t caught a clear view. So I just keep letting the thoughts chase themselves around until they get tired of running in circles or reach some solid conclusion.
Actually I’ve been listening to The Noose by A Perfect Circle a lot lately. I realize it’s about a guy who gets out of rehab believing he’s been cured and transformed into a newer, better person, not acknowledging all the destruction they have caused. Actually it holds quite a lot of relevance to my own problems, but I still kind of enjoy interpreting it as being directed at either a newly born again Christian or a religious leader offering their own shady past as proof of their current legitimacy. That’s the fun with music, you can get whatever you want out of it. So since it partially inspired this post, have a little listen while you read.
As I’ve said in previous posts, I am no stranger to religious culture, specifically Christianity. I was raised in a deeply religious home, my parents both active in their churches, both preaching at times, and doing their best to spread their allegedly good word in an effort to make it into heaven. I’ve had some good experiences, and some very bad ones, but overall I think I got a pretty good inside view of how Christianity operates. I understand that other religions are all going to be unique, and not necessarily comparable to the one I know, but as a whole I think most religions operate on pretty much the same principals, and here’s the conclusion I have reached. You’re all full of shit.
I’m not saying there is no God. I’m not saying people shouldn’t live based on basic principals of good and evil, on moral codes necessary to keep up society. I’m just saying that if you are in a religion, and you honestly believe it to be the true way to heaven or nirvana or paradise or whatever, that you are completely full of shit. You may be smarter than me, and live a better life, but that does not mean your religion isn’t a lie based on lies and an exercise in arrogance. It just means you’re better at accepting something for truth than I am willing to be without carefully examining it for lies.
Let me explain how I feel with what I know of the Bible and common Christian theology. Cut down to the most base ideas, Christianity believes that there is an omnipotent, omniscient creator god who is perfect and holy, without evil or sin, and that his son, who is also God, was sent to earth to live a perfect life, and go to hell where his absence of sin would roshambo the devil and create a way for imperfect mankind to wipe our immortal slates clean so we can all go party in heaven, eventually. And if you ever have even one chance to hear this good news, then it’s your responsibility to devote your life to serving this God and his ridiculously vague purposes here on earth, as well as donating at least one tenth of your income to his church, so you don’t get sent to a fiery pit of never ending torture and torment. Anything less than a complete surrendering of your will results in unimaginable suffering. Of course if you do everything necessary to make it past judgment day, don’t forget that in a thousand years Jesus is going to let Satan out again, so he can weed out a bunch more of the people who were good enough to make it through the first time, and then you can still be sent to Hell.
Except, why would a holy, omnipotent God with foresight somewhere outside of time create the devil in the first place. If he really was so loving that he would send his only son to die for our sins, why would he create sin, or suffering? In fact, as the creator of everything, wouldn’t he be directly responsible for every evil, sinful deed ever committed? If I build a gun, and make some bullets, and then decide that some baby out there somewhere needs to die, and I shoot the gun at the babies facial area, and the baby then loses it’s skull, brain, and most of it’s blood, and then dies, most people would consider that evil. But in fact, I did not kill that baby, the bullet I created was the one who did the poor stinker in. No, that’s retarded. If you create something that causes pain, suffering, death, or anything else bad, you are the one held responsible. Giving people free will, as we perceive it, is not enough to absolve God of any blame. If he is the creator of everything, including our human nature, and the devil, and he had foreknowledge of everything that would happen, and he had the power to stop it all, how can you say he had no hand in evil? I could argue myself in circles for hours on that point, but to me, if you create a negative situation, you have foreknowledge of it’s end result, and you have the power to stop it, then you are in fact responsible. I’d love to hear arguments against that though, so please feel free to debate me on this.
So that’s why I feel God is either not omnipotent, or not benevolent, and either way his very nature would contradict the account provided by the Bible. In fact, nothing about the Bible ever really explained my deep questions about life, and why we are here. I’ve never found a good answer in the bible regarding the meaning of life, or our purpose for existing. Was it just a big fucking game for God? Did he simply create life as we know it just to watch us run around for eighty years, give or take, and then flip a coin to see if we live in paradise forever or burn forever? What the fuck kind of universe is that man? I don’t want to be living in an ant farm with some seemingly random magnifying glass roving the landscape. Was it just to prove God was the shit? Was it because God was bored? I’ve even heard Christians tell me creation exists for the end result of glorifying god. Essentially that a shit ton of people will suffer through a miserable life with little or no direction, and then most of them will suffer forever so that in the end an unimaginably more powerful being can have a heaven full of saints singing his praises. Um, not to be crass, but fuck that. That’s the worst explanation for life ever. I’d rather there be nothing after death and no purpose at all than to have all that bull shit to deal with just so someone can essentially sit in his La-Z-Boy and high five himself for being so awesome. Where’s the big answer we are all looking for? Why the fuck are we here?
I’ve now explained why I think God’s very nature (as I see it) contradicts the Bible, and why the Bible doesn’t actually answer my questions about life but pretty much just distracts me with a bunch of stories and an impressive list of things I’m not allowed to do. How about the very idea of taking the bible literally: WTF? You don’t even have to look hard to find huge contradictions in what it says you should do, and what the people in the Bible actually do. Abraham is a hero, promoted as the founding father of Judaism, selected by God to lead his chosen people. But upon instruction from God, he is willing to murder his own son as a human sacrifice. I was under the impression that thou shalt not murder. In fact violence is an overall theme of both the new and old testaments. On the one hand murder is forbidden, and we are told to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. In fact Genesis practically starts off the whole shebang with the tale of Cain murdering Able and being cast out. But capital punishment is a common place occurrence for what would to modern eyes seem relatively innocuous behavior, like for instance, being raped. God repeatedly condones genocide, war, pillaging, and rape. King David is chosen by God to lead his people, but has an affair with his close friends wife, impregnates her, and has her husband killed to cover it all up.
Elisha uses the power of God to call two bears out of the woods and maul forty two youths who were making fun of him. God decides to completely destroy Sodom and Gomorrah for being a bunch of butt pirates, and sends two angels disguised like men to save Lot and his family, judged to be the only good people in the whole bunch of cities. The men of the town come to rape the Angels that night, and Lot offers to let them rape his two virgin daughters instead, and still gets saved by God. Then later he gets drunk in a cave and fucks his own daughters. Seriously? He was righteous enough to save? And I’m not cause I don’t take your story book literally?
Even Jesus gets in on the violence action. He becomes so frustrated at the temple, because people were selling animals for sacrifice, that he calls them all a den of thieves and chases them out with a whip. Let’s just take that one incident and apply it to modern Christianity. Have you ever been to a church where they don’t sell shit? Christianity has become an industry in and of itself. Come on in and sit right down. Put your ten percent in the basket when we come by, or else, and you know who you are, and maybe afterwords we can interest you in our selection of fine religious books or videos, all offered at barely above cost to us. Would you also like to buy a little fish for your car so everyone will be filled with the love of Christ when you cut them off on the highway? Or perhaps one of our many bumper stickers that share the guilt of Christ through smarmy and pious slogans and cartoons? How about a WWJD bracelet, or a t-shirt illustrating the degree of your faith on one hundred percent cotton? Don’t forget that most rock and roll is the devils music, and you should only listen to contemporary Christian worship CD’s recorded by the most lucrative, I mean illustrious worship writers over at the Vineyard music group. And for the kids, a wide array of upbeat christian artists doing their very best to emulate secular (real) music with rock beats, righteous rhymes, and some of those keyboard things that make electronic sounds but aren’t pianos. If you have anything left over, please consider a prayer retreat, men’s retreat, women’s retreat, couples retreat, young adults retreat, general conventions, (I’m talking to you Acquire the Fire) or classes. And go ahead and pick up some chips and soda to bring to Wednesday night home groups, cause if you don’t we’ll know you aren’t really a true Christian, just one of those half assed weekend Christians, or worse, a Chreaster. (they only come on Christmas and Easter)
How do you think angry-Jesus would dig the new scene with his crazy, temple whipping self?
You might argue that me standing against the majority of mankind saying that all religions are equally untrue is arrogant. Well, let’s go ahead and say you can some how rationalize everything I’ve said above, which is by no means a complete list of the contradictions or plot holes I’ve found in Christianity, and you’re dead set on believing that yours is the only true way to heaven and the mercy and forgiveness of God. At that point you are saying that out of all the religions on the planet, which nobody can accurately number, but let’s ahead and say at least twenty fairly good sized ones exist right now, not including the rest of history before now (who the hell knows that kind of stuff, you’d have to major in some kind of religious college for that, the point is, a LOT more) that only your religion is the true word of God, and an acceptable way to get into heaven. And not only that, but that out of all the different sects of Christianity (over 30,000) yours is the correct one that I should be following. Put aside the fact that it’s impossible to find even two people who completely agree on religion. What you are saying by trying to convert me or force me to follow laws based on your religious morals, is that out of all of human history, only you and a handful of others have been savvy enough to discern the true meaning of life and the nature of God. That there is a being complicated enough to create everything that we know, so vast and powerful that he could speak into existence a creation so complex that after all of mankind’s history we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of how it works. And this almighty God, thousands of years ago, passed on his infallible word in such a way that it should not only be taken literally but would fully explain to you exactly how he, his creation, and his moral judgment worked. That you “get” God. Only you have been able to hear and interpret his holy words. Only you have the clarity of thought and spirit to discern the right way to live, and if I disagree with your official stance on life, the universe, and everything, I deserve to suffer eternal torment.
That my friend is arrogant. I know I haven’t figured out the universe, but I have figured out enough to know that’s not how you’d impress a Holy judging god even if they really did exist like you believe. And that is why I think religion is full of shit.
Now if you want to discuss the merits of my opinions here, please feel free. I’ll talk with you, I’ll even debate you if you want, to the best of my ability. This is all just my opinion right now, it was different last year, and it will undoubtedly be different next year. I certainly don’t know everything, and there are bound to be some stupid mistakes in factuality and logic throughout this post. This isn’t my doctoral thesis, just some guy’s blog post. I’m always open to changing my mind, IF you can present me with a better opinion that makes sense and isn’t based on blind faith. I don’t see any reason why a God capable of creating a universe based on order and logic can’t be explained in simple and rational arguments. I welcome your feedback.