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.