What is the appeal to believing in a supernatural creator? To be more specific, the Christian version? I’m definitely not going to pretend that I wasn’t once interested. On the contrary, I used to be fascinated and very enthralled! There’s a reason that preaching and teaching is performed and formatted in a certain way. Even for the deeply devoted, strictly expository, “no bones about the truth” preaching types.

We as human beings are drawn in by stories, especially good ones! It would be a little naïve to ignore the entertainment industry that is built right into the appeal of religion itself. The church where I had first clearly understood the message of Jesus (at least one version of it) was just on the outside of town. The fire and brimstone wasn’t an immediate turn on for me, but over time I came to rather enjoy this dichotomy between the wrath and love of god. The wrath seemed to call out for this definite need for justice in the world, as well as in my own life. The love came sweeping in at just the right moment as the pastor was making a plea on behalf of Almighty God for me to repent.

After all, I had made mistakes like every other human being on the planet. I had been cruel and selfish with my family at times, I had lied, stolen, lusted, etcetera, etcetera! What did religion do for me when I didn’t know how to process my own guilt and regrets? When I didn’t know how to deal with my fear of the unknown? Did it save me? Did it really save me? It took years to realize what kind of number Christian Fundamentalism did on me.

Lie number one came to me in this form. Such acts as lying, stealing, cheating, and lusting are not only deserving of death, but they are deserving of eternal conscious torment! After all, you have sinned against an infinitely good unseen being and it is only fair and just that you be punished infinitely for doing this. In addition to this, I was told that I really do know this deep down. The very fabric of my existence testifies that I am aware of the one and only true god.

I feel like this should be one of those Saved By The Bell moments where Zach Morris steps out and pauses the screen right about now! Hold on just a second pastor so and so, are you listening to what you just said? You are telling me that what is basically a part of human growth and development is worthy of death and eternal hell fire? Note here that I am not advocating a snowball effect with these kind of offenses that eventually turns into murder, rape, and money laundering.

What I am saying is this, for the most part this concept of sin and evil is a maturity issue with human beings. We know this simply by observation and reason. As we get older it is less likely that we will be as reckless as we were when we were young. This is expected of other adults because we need to know how to best promote the welfare of others and ourselves. When we fail to do this we face natural consequences. If we don’t fall in line with other mature adults who are trying to protect themselves and their families then society has definitely found ways to remove the threat. Rightfully so, because what these things essentially amount to is stupidity and a lack of concern for the welfare of others and themselves.

Therefore, justice in the form of eternal punishment against human behavior is not only irrational but insurmountably cruel and vindictive. A supremely good being would recognize the maturity factor that I have pointed out. There are other factors that contribute to the problem of bad behaviors and these often stem from mental disorders and chemical imbalances. Yet another thing that this ancient bible never took into account.

In my next segment I plan to get into my negation that human beings possess some kind of internal awareness of god and the bible’s form of justice. I think we can all be rather thankful of this too, in light of how unreasonable these punishments appear to be in relation to the actual human condition.

2 thoughts on “The Appeal of Belief (Part One)

  1. You are judging condemnation to hell for “minor” sins as unreasonable, but you have not given justification for this assertion. Sure, if the theological Zach Morris was comparing the Biblical standards to his life at Bayside High, he certainly would find them incongruous. However, it should be expected that there are different standards, different factors, and different sort of authority when dealing with God, who is by definition in a different class compared to earthly authorities.

    I had reasons to doubt Christianity, but the depiction of God’s standard and requirements of the law was not one of them. I just have no standing to question (or affirm) it.

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    1. Perhaps one way to justify my position would be to compare separate instances of meted justice within the bible itself. Exodus 21:23-25 deals with personal injury laws and advocates an “eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” Though I have my qualms about even this kind of approach to justice we can at least see a differentiation between this kind of justice and what is said to be eternal punishment. Relating to these Old Testament laws we have an immediate and in some sense evened out form of justice. I pluck out my friends right eye and I can surely expect the same for myself. This is payment for payment.

      You then rightly make the point that if god in fact exists that such a being would be in an altogether separate category from human beings. However, in the area of eternal punishment (which I assume in your view is eternal and conscious?) we have finite actions and consequences being assigned eternal ones. I pluck out my friends eye and flee from justice without ever fessing up and I’m looking at an eternity in conscious torment. Not just the same number of years that I didn’t fess up before I died, no, now I’m worthy of never ending pain, torture, and agony for each and every sin that does not allegedly fall under the grace of god through Jesus.

      It would be far more sensible at least mathematically to ascribe to Annihilationism. At least in this sense the meted out justice for rebellion would be more congruent and in sync with the limitedness of the human condition. When justice is paid in full the soul would simply cease to exist and wither away like ashes in the fire. Humans are not eternal, infinite, all knowing, and all powerful. If we were somehow eternal and as far reaching as Theologians define god to be, then I could understand an everlasting justice that matches our nature. We are not, we are finite beings always and forever. Our lifespans range anywhere between hours and a little over a hundred years.

      Eternal punishment in an eternal hell makes no sense whatsoever in regards to the longevity of human life as well as in making the punishment fit the crime. I have to conclude that such a skewed view of justice is not divinely inspired. I have to conclude that such an attitude toward human beings is the best expression of (in this case) divine sadism I have ever encountered.

      Liked by 1 person

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