When I was a Christian, one of the most fundamental things that stood out to me, was the engine of guilt. Not just any type of guilt....extreme guilt. Imagine the following scenario. A parent tells his child, "You are dirty and undeserving of my love because of what your long last relative did. You deserve to die and be tortured."
As a child I remember the silliness. We are supposed to unconditionally love and forgive, as many times as needed. Yet, God's love is CONDITIONAL LOVE. If God were truly all-loving, He would simply forgive. After all, mature parents do not threaten their children. They teach and instruct.
With that in mind, I want to pose more serious questions. I feel that Jesus suffering is nonsense. Christians want people to cry and fall over at the spectacle of Jesus having a nail through his hand, suffering, and dying in a matter of hours. This is the ultimate price, we are told.
Image by yersin via FlickrWhat about children who are slowly and systematically dying and wasting away from bone cancer? What is worse, pain and agony for a few hours with the knowledge of soon returning to heaven, or is it more tragic to consider the child that dies a slow and sometimes unbearably long and painful permanent death?
What about people with brain abnormalities? Those poor souls who are tortured unendingly by voices, visions, and tormenting paranoia.
How is it that as a Christian I could even condemn the Holocaust as evil, yet revel in the idea that non-believers would be thrown into the ultimate never-ending oven, where people who doubt are tortured, day after day after day? I would like to find one Christian that can explain how Hitler was evil, yet God in commanding genocide and eternal pain and torture, is somehow moral and good.
Here is what I think: Most if not all of us have been tested, experiencing pain and heartache. Just because ancient men went through bad times does not mean that we cannot recognize our own suffering. I know many people who would gladly exchange living day after day with brain and bone cancer for dying on a cross in matter of a few short hours with the guarantee of paradise.
To all Christians, let me make this clear: I am in no way bitter. The greatest and most profound day of my life came when I fully understood how meaningless I was. When I realized that I was one in a galaxy of trillions, suddenly worrying about what gays were doing seemed trivial and absurd. When I realized that all organisms share the same genetic information in varying degrees, the idea that God has a chosen race, or that I am any better than you, seemed absurd. When I realized that ALL MAMMALS feel the same pain we do, I realized that God wanting to smell burnt, bloody, and dead animals for appeasing, was ABSURD. AND then....I BECAME FREE.
I see the beauty and tragedy in life, but I feel the most profound happiness imaginable. We were meant to live among nature, and each other, not dividing ourselves over unseen gods. To all the non-believers here and ex-christians. Wake up each morning thanking and appreciating yourself for having the courage, strength, and drive to find the truth. When you find it, you truly find the peace that passes all understanding. Life has never and will never be easy. To be free from religion and superstition, makes life wonderful.