Posted by parhad (188.8.131.52) on October 04, 2001 at 09:54:30:
Why I Am Not a Christian
Posted by Miklos Jako on Wednesday, 3 October 2001, at 5:51 p.m.
Why I Am Not a Christian
I am not a Christian, because Christianity is based on the Bible, and I find the Bible to be anything but the Word of God. If a book really were inspired by God, it would be intelligible, consistent, and moral, and not the muddled, contradictory, immoral mess the Bible is.
Hereís a very basic contradiction: The Bible emphatically claims the end is near. "The end of all things is at hand" (1 Pet 4:7), "the time is near" (Rev. 1:3), "the time is short" (1 Cor 7:29), "in these last days" (Heb 1:2), "watch therefore" (Mt 25:13), "he will not tarry" (Heb 10:37), "I come quickly" (Rev. 22:20).
Is it not abundantly clear that the Bible writers expected the world to end in their generation? But itís 2,000 years later; the world continues. Clearly the Bible was wrong; the end was not near. The Bible did not speak the truth
But Christians have no problem rationalizing away the very plain meaning of the passages I cited.
If God wrote a book, it would not contradict known scientific facts: Rabbits do not chew the cud, camels do not have undivided hooves, ostriches are not cruel parents, and the earth is not flat, held up by pillars. (Lev 11:6, 11:4, Job 39:13-16, 1 Sam 2:8).
If Biblical writers are inspired to make such blundering errors about physical reality, why should we trust their claims about spiritual reality?
A God-inspired book would teach that men and women, though different, are equal in value, with equal rights. The Bible does not teach that.: Lev 27:3-5 values a man at 50 shekels, a woman at 30.
Genesis 3:16 establishes the womanís role as subordinate. "And thy desire shall be unto thy husband and he shall rule over thee."
If God wrote a book, its teachings on divorce and remarriage would be consistent and humane, not contradictory and oppressively judgmental. In 2 Sam 5:13, divorce is OK. In Mk 10:11, itís not. In Mt 19:9, itís not, except for sexual immorality. Where is the consistency? This is divine guidance? I donít think so.
I know people who have found happiness in a good second marriage. Iím happy for them. But Jesus brands them as adulterers. (Mk 10:11)
A real book of God would not present obviously mythological stories as literal truth, such as the Noahís ark story. Nor would these stories include malignant lessons such as: every human being on the planet, with the exception of Noahís family, deserved to drown, and animal suffering on a massive scale is irrelevant.
Myths teach lessons. Those are horrible and false lessons.
A real book of God would not contain prophecies that failed: According to the Bible, Hazor and Tyre were supposed to be destroyed and put out of existence (Jer 49:33, Ezk 26:21), but they are easily found in any atlas. They continue to exist.
Nor would a real book of God claim fulfillments for prophecies which were clearly talking about unrelated events:
The virgin birth prophecy (Isa 7:14): Jesusís birth could not be a sign to King Ahaz, as the prophecy claimed it would be, because Jesus wasnít born until hundreds of years after King Ahaz died!
The Bethlehem prophecy (Mic 5:2-6): the messiah in question here was supposed to deliver the Jews from the Assyrians. Jesus had nothing to do with the Assyrians.
The Judas betrayal prophecy (Ps 41:4-9): the speaker calls himself a sinner, so this passage cannot be referring to Jesus, who is supposed to be a sinless person.
These are not predictions miraculously fulfilled; they are simply correlations deliberately drawn by the writers. The New Testament writers just pull out what they want from the Old Testament, point out similarities, and allege there is an overall divine, prophetic pattern to it.
The fact that many of their claimed fulfillments do not match the original predictions accurately, betrays their subjectivity, and shows them to be rank propagandists. A liberal minister I talked to, who is not impressed with Biblical prophecy, put it best. He said, "Yeah, well, we could write it that way too, if we wanted to, couldnít we?"
A book of God wouldnít favor one group of people over all others. "The Lord hath chosen thee to be a special people above all people that are on the face of the earth. (Dt. 7:6) Thereís your basic recipe for war Ė people thinking theyíre special to God, with God-given rights over other people and their land.
Question: Is the spiritual more important than the physical? "Oh, absolutely," the Christian would respond. Then, I would ask the Christian: Why does your God say in Leviticus 21:16-23, that physically handicapped people "must notÖ approach the altar, and so desecrate My sanctuary."?
Thatís not God talking. Thatís stupid humans talking. The real God judges people by their behavior, by their character, not their physical defects.
Slavery is a categorical evil, yet the Bible supports it. It tells slaves to obey their masters "in all things" (Titus 2:9), "just as you would obey Christ" (Ephesians 6:5). Does that sound like good advice to you? Is that a message supporting human dignity? The Bible gives the Hebrews permission to buy slaves, and to keep their children as possessions. (Lev 25:44-46) Are human beings property? The Bible values the life of a slave as less than the life of a free man. (Exodus 21:29-32) Would the real God teach such a thing? Of course not.
Any book that supports the institution of slavery is morally bankrupt.
A real book of God would not preach hatred toward gay people, calling their relationships an "abomination", and prescribing the death penalty for them in the Old Testament. (Lev 20:13)
That kind of intolerance, for people who are simply different from the majority, in a morally neutral aspect, is an indication, not of Godís morality, but of peopleís bigotry.
"Happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones." (Ps 137:9)
"Put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep." (1 Samn 15:3)
"God said to the others, Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children." (Ezekiel 9:5-6)
"Behold, I will corrupt your seed and spread dung upon your faces." (Malachi 2:3) Thatís the Biblical God speaking!
Hereís Moses speakingó"Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man intimately. But keep alive for yourselves all the young girls who have not known a man intimately." (Numbers 31:17-18)
Is this the morality of the real God? Ö Or of barbarians claiming to speak for God?
A book of God would not hold people responsible for the sins of someone else. (2 Kg 5:27) In fact, Christian theology (original sin and the atonement) is based on this same cockeyed concept of guilt: We are responsible for Adamís sin, and we are redeemed by Jesusís death. (Rom 5:19) That is morally and theologically ridiculous. I have nothing to do with what an alleged Adam did thousands of years ago. And Jesus could die a thousand deaths and that would not mitigate whatsoever the responsibility I have for any crimes I commit.
Everyone is responsible for their own actions. Thatís what a real book of God would teach.
Guilt mongering, and then offering third-party redemption, is but a control technique for one group of people over another.
A real book of God would provide a better answer to the problem of evil than the Book of Job, which answer amounts to, "You have no right to ask, you puny human."
It would not hold up an atrocious character such as David as a man after Godís heart. (Acts 13:22) David was a voyeur, an adulterer, a murderer.
Cal Thomas, a conservative Christian columnist, wrote an article praising Davidís righteous repentance compared to President Clintonís waffling repentance.
First of all, Clinton never murdered somebody, as David did.
And secondly, Clintonís sexual ethics that so outrage Christians, were standard operating procedure for David: 2 Sam 5:13 "And David took more concubines and wives from Jerusalem." Somehow, for conservative Christians, Clinton is dirt, but David and Solomon with their numerous wives and concubines, are righteous.
A real book of God would not regard obedience as a greater virtue than understanding. Obedience is not an intrinsic virtue, as Genesis would have us believe. Obedience to what?! Thatís the question. The world is full of ideologies and alleged Gods demanding peopleís allegiance. The key is using discernment to decide which God or ideology is worthy of that allegiance.
Nor would a real book of God regard belief as a greater virtue than good behavior. Itís easy to believe. Itís hard to behave well consistently. Nor would it value simple-minded credulity so highly. (Jn 20:29) "Blessed are those who have not seen yet believe." I say blessed are those who use reason, compassion, and good judgment ot make decisions, not blssed are those prone to sheep-like behavior.
A real book of God would have a mature understanding of forgiveness and not demand the killing of an animal (!), or a blood sacrifice. That is such a primitive concept! The very essence of Christian theology Ė Jesus being killed for our sins Ė is just so spiritually primitive and obtuse.
People need to grow up. A power so great and awesome as God is not going to have the small-minded, egotistical, barbaric mind-set of the Biblical God.
A real book of God would have a spokesperson teaching realistic ethics, and not Jesus making utopian statements, advising people to forgive endlessly, to take no thought for the morrow, and not to resist evil. (Mt 18:22, Mt 6:26-34, Mt 5:39-42)
If you think Iím misunderstanding Jesus, foolishly misinterpreting these passages, that thatís not what Jesus meant, I say I am in fact interpreting these passages properly. You are distorting them, forcing them to make sense, even though, as written, they do not make senseÖ because you presuppose Jesus would only teach sensible things.
The trouble with Christian hermeneutics is that they presuppose sensibleness and divine wisdom, and a verdict of nonsense is a priori prohibited. The Christian always asks, "How do we make sense of this passage?" He never asks, "Does this passage make sense?" But the honest meaning of a passage is what the words actually say and what the writer intended, not what youíd like it to mean, or what you think ought to be there, or what would make sense if the words were a little different.
A real book of God would inspire us to work for the ideals of humanity, rather than to trust in wishful thinking and the efficacy of prayer. In Mt 17:20 Jesus says "And all things, whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive." Thatís not true. Thatís not reality. Thatís not how the real God works.
Jesus is just selling dreams.
A real book of God would never, ever teach a concept such as Hell, a place or state of eternal, ongoing, punishing, for only one lifetime of evil, never mind just because a person wonít believe screwy theology.
Jesus says in John 3:18 "He who does not believe is condemned already." He says in Mt 25:41 "Depart from me, you cursed into the everlasting fire."
Hell is the single worst and most immoral doctrine of Christianity. It is the greatest failing of Jesus as an alleged spokesperson for God. A God who allows the Holocaust of WWII is a God that makes one think, and question, and doubt, and search for faith. But a God who has a Hell is clearly, obviously, unambiguously, a monstrously cruel God, not a loving God.
What is wrong with the Christian brain that you cannot understand this simple logic? A God who tortures any creature FOREVER, is not a loving God!
I believe in a God of ultimate justice. Eternal annihilation for evil people makes sense to me. But Hell does not. In no way is that a rational God, a just God, or a loving God.
A real book of God would reveal a God of compassion, understanding, and justice, not the egotistical, jealous, vengeful character we find in the Bible. (Ex 20:5, Nahum 1:2, Zephaniah 3:8)
The essence of its God would be reason and compassion, not egotism and a desire to dominate and control. Those are characteristics that reflect a man-made God.
In short, if God wrote a book, you can be damn sure the Bible ainít it.
I think the real God speaks to us through common sense and a good heart, and can only be deeply dishonored by a book like the BibleÖ
And, if you are a Christian and youíre thinking, "Oh, heís taking a lot of those quotes out of context." Ö I have no respect for you. None at all. Unless you write to me and explain what the context is which changes the very plain meaning of those quotes. Any Christian who uses that horse-manure "out of context" defense, without making the effort to explain how the context invalidates my statements, is a person without integrity.
I am a theist. A 95% theist, a 5% agnostic. I have a little doubt about God, because there is so much natural evil in the world, and because, try as we might, we humans cannot know there is a God. We cannot get tangible evidence or proof. We can only be convinced by the weight of reason and plausible interpretations of the world we find ourselves in, and we must live by a faith in God rather than a knowledge of God.
But, if there is a God, as I believe there is, I have no doubt, not one iota of doubt that He is ashamed of Christians for the nonsense they believe to come from Him.
I am a modern theist.
Barbarians from thousands of years ago are not going to dictate to me what God is like. I have too much respect for the Real God.
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