Offense Intended

Some people say that nonbelievers should not attack religious belief aggressively because religionists will be offended.  Instead, we should be respectful of their beliefs, no matter how idiotic they are.  Well, sorry. I’m tired of it and I need to let it all out in a rant, so here it comes.

You say you are a Christian. That means you believe in God and all those Jesus myths in the Bible. There is not the slightest trace of evidence for any of that. Zero. Zilch. Nada. The Bible is just a bunch of old stories, a lot of them contradictory and full of factual errors. Your belief is just personal opinion. People have opinions about lots of things, but they are usually backed up by knowledge, experience and logic. Your “faith based” beliefs are backed up by…nothing. That’s why it’s called a “leap of faith.” You had to leap across a logical vacuum to arrive at your Christian beliefs.

If I told you that I believed pigs could fly, you would ridicule me, saying that no one had ever seen a pig fly. But my belief would be a lot more reasonable than yours. It only requires one unlikely event…seeing a flying pig. I would say the existence of God is much less likely than a flying pig. As a Christian, you believe in a whole raft of miraculous events that allegedly happened thousands of years ago. Like the immaculate conception, resurrection and all of Jesus’ tricks turning water into wine and driving demons out of sick people. Demons? C’mon, you don’t believe in demons do you? I guess you do. The Bible is full of them.

How can you believe that stuff? You probably learned it at a very early age when you weren’t mature enough to question it. If you had been introduced to those things as an adult, you would have found them as absurd and unbelievable as I do.

A better question: Why do you believe that stuff? The answer is pretty clear: Fear.
Everybody fears death. We know it’s gonna happen, but the idea that when our brain dies, our consciousness dies with it is hard for many people to accept. A living, breathing, thinking individual suddenly becomes an inert pile of meat that’s gonna start smelling bad pretty quickly. That’s where your religion helps you out by creating a delusion that your “soul” doesn’t die when your body dies, and that comforts you.

What’s wrong with that, you ask. Nothing if you don’t mind being deluded, of failing to face reality, shutting down your mental processes and becoming an ignorant superstitious barbarian. Nothing wrong with it, if you don’t mind giving up your humanity, because thinking is what makes us human and distinguishes us from the other animals. That is why we are called Homo Sapiens.

Still, if all you did was just have your own little private delusion, I wouldn’t complain. But that’s not how your religion works. That’s not how Christianity works, because like most religions, it is self-righteous. And this is the giveaway that it is a human invention. Self-righteousness is a human trait that often accompanies opinion, whether it is about the best car to buy, the best food to eat, the best socks to wear or the best religion. We know what’s right, and we want everybody else to know what’s right, whether they want to know or not. With religious opinions, it is called evangelism, and the Bible tells believers to spread the word.

Even that’s not so bad, but some of your Christian friends go further. They want to impose their moral beliefs on everyone else, and that’s where religion becomes destructive to society, creating conflict and even war. In the case of Christianity, self righteousness has led to opposition to same sex marriage, abortion and even contraception. Some Christians aren’t satisfied with just living their own lives according to their beliefs. They insist that others who don’t share their beliefs must obey their rules.

Why do I find your beliefs absurd and unbelievable? Here’s why.

Christians believe that God is all-powerful, all-knowing and benevolent. He LOVES us, so we should love him. He created us and everything else in the Universe, and insists that we follow his rules to avoid eternal punishment. Actually He is already punishing us with mortality because that fast talking snake flimflammed Eve into eating an apple. A talking Snake? Really? The snake was, you say, Satan in one of his disguises. God created Satan to tempt us to break His rules. Eve was Satan’s first patsy, but Christians believe that Satan tempts us all. Why would a benevolent God create an evil guy like Satan? The standard explanation is that that God wants us to have “choice” whether to sin or not. By providing Satan to tempt us, God is in effect creating an obstacle course for humans if they want to avoid eternal suffering in Hell. Is life some kind of board game? If you screw up, the card you draw says, “Go directly to Hell. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200.” Whatever it is, it certainly is neither loving nor benevolent.

The idea of free will is essential to the Christian system of beliefs. If Man does not have free will, the whole idea of sin is meaningless. (See note at end.) This is the insidious part of Christianity, because the rules are devised so that everybody is a sinner. Even thinking about committing a sin is the same as committing it.  (Matthew 5:27-28). The purpose of this is control through fear and guilt. If everybody sins, then everybody must say “I’m sorrreeey!” (repent) to get forgiveness from God and escape from eternal punishment in Hell. But there is another condition. Absolute belief in God. Nobody, no matter how righteously they live their life, can avoid going to Hell unless they unquestioningly believe in the benevolent Christian God. If they fail to repent or fail to believe, the sentence is eternal suffering in a “lake of fire,” (Matthew 25:41) with no hope of mercy. Think about that. A loving, merciful, benevolent God fries people FOREVER for simply not believing in him. But he opens those pearly gates and lets them in if they repent and believe, no matter how horrible their crimes were during their life. That is not just absurd. It’s cruel and unjust. Honest doubt is punished, while piety erases all sins. If I somehow managed to believe all the other miraculous nonsense, that one idea would be more than enough to cause me to reject Christianity.

There is a lot of criticism of our Homeland Security system, and its violation of personal privacy. But if you are a Christian, you have no personal privacy. God knows everything that you think and everything that you do. Big Brother God is looking over your shoulder at all times. Homeland Security is a rank amateur at surveillance compared to God. It’s all part of the Christian system of control through fear.

Now about natural disasters. If God created everything, then he is responsible for the suffering and deaths caused by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods and tsunamis. These events kill and injure millions of people. Are they all sinners who need to be punished? Even the children? The babies?

I have found two explanations for this. The first is simply that Satan does those things. Satan is an essential part of the Christian belief system. God can’t be blamed for the bad stuff that happens because he is so loving and benevolent. So God gets credit for the good stuff and Satan is blamed for the bad stuff. The only trouble with this explanation is that God created everything, including Satan, and if he didn’t like the bad stuff Satan was doing, he could snuff him in a microsecond. But he doesn’t, so he obviously approves of Satan’s tricks.

Here’s another explanation that I found on a Christian web site: “Such events [natural disasters] shake our confidence in this life and force us to think about eternity. Churches are usually filled after disasters as people realize how tenuous their lives really are and how life can be taken away in an instant.”

So natural disasters are God showing us that we need to obey him, worship him, kiss his…you know what. This is loving and benevolent? Killing millions of people just to intimidate the rest of us into following his rules? It sounds egotistical, vengeful and profoundly immoral to me. How can anyone claim that a god that would do this LOVES us?

The human failings of the Christian god make it clear that God did not create Man. It was exactly the opposite. God is a product of the imagination of some very clever and manipulative people.

I would think that any intelligent, rational person would reject this stuff. Why don’t they? It must be that the brainwashing they received during childhood has made it impossible for them to view their own faith objectively. That is very sad.

Note:  Many writers have questioned whether our actions are actually voluntary, rather than predetermined, at least to some extent, by behavioral patterns established through our genes and our life experiences.  I address this question in another article titled “Computers, Brains and Accountability.”

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