Sunday, August 17, 2008

Christianity, Reader's Digets Version

There's so much to the Christian religion that makes no sense - is actually the antithesis of reason - to us. But we're often accused of picking and choosing archaic Bible verses, and targeting the lunatic fringe of Christianity, as our standing examples of WHY we're not part of the faith, thankyouverymuch.

This last week I was visited by and had a simply lovely chat with a couple of Jehovah's Witnesses. They left me a little booklet that I've been perusing, and it really got me thinking about the BASICS of Christianity. I'd like to go ahead and dig in.

I'm going to start with a premise that I think is important to state clearly, and that is: Christianity and the Bible are all about humans. God made everything for us, we're special, all His attention is on us. You know, give or take. I've never seen or heard anything from that side of the fence that says anything different.

Okay, the setup: God creates everything and says, it's good, and then He rests. Adam and Eve are in the garden and everything's beautiful. God gives them Da Rulz: Rule stuff, eat, have lots of kids, but don't eat from the tree of good and evil or you'll die (Gen 2:17).

The conflict: The serpent says to Eve, you won't die if you eat from that'll understand good and evil. So Adam and Eve eat from the forbidden tree and don't die, but things change. They get caught. The serpent gets cursed, Eve gets cursed, Adam gets cursed, and everyone's offspring are screwed too. Oh, and God kicks the pair out of the garden so they can't become immortal.

Let's skip waaaaaaaaaaay ahead here. The entire world of humans, being cursed to sin and hard times and death, are wicked-bad and totally undeserving. So, the resolution: God FINALLY (something like 4,000 years later) sends his actual son to Earth - God impregnates a virgin. The child has a miraculous and sin-free life, and when he's 33 years old he's arrested, tried, tortued and killed (as per God's plan) so that all of humankind has a chance to be cleansed of sin, and therefore get into God's graces/heavan. Oh, and three days later the guy comes back to life, hangs out for a while being really amazing, and then ascends bodily into heavan.

That's pretty much the story. I mean, we can talk about the end times and all that, but that's not part of the BASICS.

[An aside: I read this to SurferJesus, and said, creation and the crucifixion...that's pretty much the basics, isn't it? He said "yeah, everything else is just bloody gravy." Eww...]

So, the dissection: I have so many problems with all of this - just the basics - that it's making my head spin. On the one hand, I get that God provided a wrong choice (eating of the wrong tree) so that they could have free will in deciding to go for it or reject it. But it certainly seems like bad parenting right from the start. Yes, I set rules for my children, but I do not set a big bowl of M&Ms in the middle of the floor and then say "don't fucking touch those or you'll DIE".

Which brings us to the second point. God LIED. He LIED, right there in the second chapter of THE texbook for Christians of all the ages. Eat this and you'll DIE, right then (Gen 2:17 "But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.") No amount of tap-dancing can get around that; this was God talking directly to Adam, before even Eve was around. No confusion there, Eat it and die, period. He LIED.

Of course we have the talking snake bit. This is explained in this article that Satan talked to Eve through the snake so he could tempt her (Satan is associated with the snake in Revelations). Um? I guess if you say so. But I like the bit in Epic Movie where Lucy first meets Mr. Beaver...he tries to warn her but she shrieks "Holy s***, a talking beaver!" and boots him offscreen.

So okay, so far we have bad parenting, lying, and a talking snake (which, if too unbelievable, can be EASILY explained by possession by an evil spirit). We're already in dutch and we havn't even gotten out of chapter 2.

So then God curses the hell out of everybody. It's in Da Rulz, after all. But I'm not sure it's entirely fair. If my kids misbehave, they know what's involved - a time out. I've explained it before, and we've done it before. They don't expect to misbehave and for me to spank them, take everything they own, AND set leins on all potential posessions for generations to come. I guess I'm trying to say that it's a bit overkill. You told your "son", Adam, that he'd die if he ate of the tree, so let him die and get on with creating some new kid who won't misbehave. Bad parenting! Very unjust.

Now to the skip-ahead part. This is the part that started the whole thing for me. Jesus dies for our sins and/or Adam's sin. Either way, we have something Adam/we did wrong, and Jesus dying after a perfect life pays for that. Understand how I don't understand this: you're (God is) just making things up now. Eddie Izzard's bit: "Do you have a flag? No flag, no country! Those are the rules, that I've made up just now. And I'm backing it up with this gun..."

God set down Da Rulz, which apparently state: Sin is something I say is bad, namely disobeying Me. And you have to pay for sin. And the only thing which you can use to pay for sin is blood. (Sin is REALLY bad, see, and blood is REALLY precious.) And just because I'm such a nice god, I'm going to send a son, and he'll be perfect, and then he'll die. So I get PERFECT blood, which is the most precious. Then we're even and you can get into Heavan. As long as you believe all of this. Oh, and try not to sin.

STOP MAKING STUFF UP! Blood for evildoing isn't innate, it's not like having to pay someone back after you steal. I suppose you could argue that pain, or blood, are a couple of the ultimate punishments, and they are good punishments for sin (sin as in "an action that is or is felt to be highly reprehensible"). We've been beating, bleeding, burning, and beheading people for millenia for their crimes. But to set some really nice guy up to bleed and die for others' sins, that's just beyond random.

It's the ultimate guilt trip. You'd better behave, you'd better believe...Jesus DIED FOR YOU, ingrate!

It's not a reason to believe. It doesn't make sense. And again, these are just the basics. How do you expect me to buy into all the other stuff if the bare bones sound like a bad fairy tale?


Anonymous said...

Great post! I hate how xians say we're atheists because we hate god and want to be our own gods. It has nothing to do with that! How can we hate something we don't believe exists? I don't hate flying purple elephants that fart symphonies. Ya know why? Cuz they don't exist.

If only they could realize that their silly little fairy tale makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

Vamp said...

As soon as the talking snake came on the scene, that was it for me. I was picturing the snake from Jungle Book as apropo.