Saturday, October 11, 2008

On the salvation message and loving your enemies

"For god so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever should believe on him, would not perish but have everlasting life." John 3:16 Everybody that has ever heard of the bible knows this verse. Many of us know it from memory. Hell there's probably plenty out there who know the whole bible from memory, I don't know. The point is, that rainbow-colored-wig-wearing guy at all the major sporting and political events has made this verse known to a lot of people. I think we should discuss it, and by we, I mean I think I should offer my critique of it, and those of you who read this can spout back at me your critique of me and how you're sure that I'm gonna burn in hell for my blasphemy and sacrilege. Bring on the grilling.

Christ (which incidentally was not his name, but an misappropriated title meaning messiah, his last name was not Christ) did not love his enemies, despite what mainstream christianity will proclaim to the uninitiated. The bible verse cited above says that god loved the whole world, (presumably he loved the whole world of humanity, since he has unquestioningly ignored the plight of the rainforests, as well as the extinction of many modern species of animals), but that's not exactly what is bornout through the stories passed down by generational christians. Actually, as closer examination of both John 3:16 and other new testament verses is employed, it's easy to see that he died only for those who loved or currently love him, or stated more accurately, came to or will eventually come to love him, all others, including but not limited to those of us who knowingly reject him, as well as those of us who were born into the disawareness caused by debilatative diseases, have been relegated to the sufferings of the eternity of painful burning in a lake made of fire.
Now, the way it seems to me, a real messiah, who was truly part and parcel of a creation-wielding godhead should have died for everyone, and indeed would have included all in his umbrella of salvation if he were really what the bible claims him to be, but even more so he especially should have died on behalf of those whom he knew would reject him. In an existence governed by a god (father) figure that we are meant to think we actually do live in, it is those people who disregard the danger they allow their immortal souls (things which I thoroughly disbelieve in, just for the record) to exist under that should be the first in line, precisely because their very willingness to flaunt themselves in the face of eternal death, could be seen as true ignorance, to such a degree that a responsible "loving" god could not allow it to dominate the survivability of his offspring. Again, if we are to believe that god really did so love the world, and not just those whom he knew would accept him ahead of time, (see omniscience) then those who don't so much as acknowledge him should be, if not first in line, then at least right behind those who glory in him. One could argue that god-loyalists should be rewarded for their loyalty above and before those who show no acceptance of or grovelling over such a "wonderful" gift of salvation. But how could god love everyone, yet allow some of those he loved, one who happened to not love him back, to go to hell anyway, when it was well within his power (see omnipotence) to disallow that scenario if he so chose. The rules being of his own making, and his not being subject to them, else he lose his omnipotence, he could easily have arranged things such that no one, christian or unbeliever, would ever be the wiser to the fact that acceptance of the gift proffered by him, was not a contingency of entrance into the paradise awaiting them in the afterlife. He could have built his elaborate plan in such a way that people could live life as they wanted, striving to be as good a person, individually as they could be, eliminating the threat of eternal torment from the system, and then upon each person's death, he could have simply announced to the unearthly hosts of the already deceased, and the newly decesaed that "SURPRISE, you going to spend the rest of all time in paradise, despite what you might or might not have done during your lifetime, because I so loved the world that I gave my only begotten son, that whosoever lived will have ever-lasting life, because those life-having folks (everyone) are my children and I love you all, no matter what. A god could have said something like that in his "word", he could have set his elaborate system up to actually do what would truly be beneficial to us his children (the creators" of god), but he did not, and you wanta know why he didn't set things up this way? It is because, he doesn't exist, and this system of atonement is an incomplete and primitive system of tribal justice. Justice is a human ideal. It is born of self-awareness and is most likely peculiar to us as a species, but not because we possess some immortal soul, but because we happen to have neurologically evolved to a more advanced state than other mammals have so far. God didn't send his son to die for the whole world, as the bible story recounts, it is clear that the fictional biblical god sent his son to die for those who would accept his gift of atonement, all others could literally and, in his mind rightfully, got to hell. This is pedantic, juvenile and outright transparent in it's display of the human qualities of jealousy and hurt feelings. For god did not so love the world, but we so loved those in it who would think and do what we as a species came to believe was the "right" thing to do, that he did not give his only son so that whoever believed on him would have everlasting life, but we gave ourselves a fantasy that would absolve us of taking responsibility for our own actions so that we could seperate ourselves into classes of distinction between those who are "good" people and those who are "bad" and by doing so we allowed ourselves to construct equally fantastical divisions such as heaven and hell, and we were then able to further elaborate our construction into a system of do's and dont's which would get you into said heavenly or hellish constructs. But we ignored one thing as we revelled in our newly-found cleverness as fictional constructionists, our ability to build, was blinded by our need to build, and so we left cracks in the foundations of our facades in our hurry to erect the shell of our morality. Cracks such as god loving the whole world, but only allowing his sacrifice to cover those in the world who accept it, a glaring inconsistency if ever there were one. If you are a christian, please take a moment and CRITICALLY evaluate the tenets of your faith which you hold so dear. Take a moment and play devil's advocate with yourself and your faith. I know you live in a world of certainty about what you believe, but have you ever even considered the possibility that you might be mistaken, and that despite your desire for the things you believe to be true, there may not be enough concrete unassailable reasons to think they really are? I grew up a christian, in a christian household, as I've mentioned many times on this blog. I have learned the tenets of the christian faith, and I have found them to be childishly ridiculous, How is it that I but not you could have come to this conclusion? Is it because I wanted to disbelieve? Certainly the mainstream, Palin-supporting, southern, 30 something, middle-class, christian mom and/or dad of three god-loving children has always wanted to believe, so is it just a matter of me being the opposite, I want to disbelieve? Or is it that one of us has conciously decided to approach the subject from a purposefully different and counterintuitive angle, precisely for the objectivity such an action could provide, and one of us is too comfortable in the established course of life to disrupt it in any such way? Which sounds more plausible to you? Christians, wake up, and either question what you believe for the sake of the answer, whatever it may be, or waste the span of your life trusting that you haven't f***ed up royally. Either way, as the bumper sticker says, If I'm living my life as if there's no god, I'd better be right, well, I am living my life that way, and I'm more certain there is no god, than any christian I know is certain there is. And you know how I know, because I can't stand some people, especially those I would qualify as my enemies. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

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