5/16/2010 | Share this article:By Discordia --
Image by marfis75 via FlickrOver the past several years many questions have crossed my mind as I have read explanations for Christian dogma. I was once very much into Jesus until the light of reason broke forth in my mind. I hated losing faith and did my best to hang onto it but the more of the Bible I read in my search for God, the bigger the chinks became in my ‘spiritual armor’ until the whole suit just disappeared.
These are some of the sticky questions that made me leave religion.
Which Bible, Church and Doctrine Should I Choose?
There are several versions of the Bible in circulation (Jerusalem, Orthodox, KJV, NIV, NRV, Living, among others). There are twenty five general categories of churches just in my local, small town yellow pages (each with lists of individual churches: Baptist, Southern Baptist, Methodist, AME, Lutheran and Holiness churches etc available in the area) plus at least twelve independent churches.
Theological differences include views of salvation (God has already decided who will be saved OR people can accept now or burn forever OR everyone will have a chance after death to choose to accept Jesus) and whether or not the Bible is to be taken literally or figuratively or a combination thereof. Interpretations even differ from person to person and this is for what is supposed to be the divine word of an unchanging, perfect, all-knowing, all-powerful God.
Christianity does not seem to have one cohesive unifying belief other than Jesus died for sinful humans, yet every single Christian proclaims that they have THE ONE TRUTH. So exactly how does one go about choosing the RIGHT church to attend of all the choices in the phone book? Since one has maybe a one in thirty to a one in a hundred chance of choosing the correct church, then isn't one just better off not going at all rather than offending God by worshipping at the WRONG church?
On The Conception of Jesus and the Confusion of John 3:16
In the bible there are extensive lists of genealogies. The book of Matthew starts out with the generations of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham, then goes on to list that Abraham begat Isaac, Isaac begat Jacob and so forth all the way to Joseph, the husband of Mary. Obviously, the Jews knew that it takes a male to get a female pregnant or the genealogies would run through the mothers’ line. It was obviously important that the Christ be of the line of David.
Now comes the rub. I bring to your attention John 3:16, a verse I have some issues with. It reads in the KJV:
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Please note that it says "only begotten son." Going by the previous listings of begottens, wherein a male had to lay with a female so that she could conceive a child, this verse must be taken to mean that God came down and personally debauched the espoused Mary, impregnating her with His Only Begotten Jesus, who was half mortal and half god. God made Adam but begat Jesus. God made an adulteress out of Mary yet did not marry her, according to Jewish law. You know, the law he gave the Jews. Since she did not cry out, she should have been stoned to death, taking her unborn bastard child with her. But that didn't happen, so the literal son of God was born to be sacrificed to his daddy to pay for the original sin of humanity, commonly known as SEX. God breaks his own laws by shagging an espoused woman on the sly so she can be his baby-momma but is justified in sending the rest of humanity to hell for the same act. So why did God find it necessary to inspire the writers of the gospels to include two contradictory and false genealogies? Since God is the father of Jesus, not Joseph, the listings of begats are just superfluous.
"…that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
This is a bald-faced lie. How can someone be tortured for all eternity in hell if they are not alive? The way to get to hell is by not believing in and accepting Jesus. But the only way to have eternal life is to believe in and accept Jesus. So, if I do not believe in Jesus then I will still live forever? That’s not what that verse says, so why is hell even a threat?
On Sin, God’s Great Plan and Prayer
If God made everything and knows everything and has a plan for everything, then how does humanity being sinful come as such a surprise to Him? Didn't He see this coming? Did it sneak up on the all-knowing God and catch Him unawares? If the story of Adam and Eve is literally true then God already knew what was going to happen with that Tree and the serpent, both of which He created according to His Plan, and still had the audacity to get angry when events unfolded EXACTLY as He wanted them to, since everything is following His Plan. If God is all knowing then He made us and created Satan all the while knowing full well that sin would cause many to be damned for all eternity. Who's at fault there? A god of pure love would not create people who would be awful and blame them for being exactly what He made them to be. That's just as asinine as pressing a little child's hand to a hot iron then beating the child for getting burned. Where I come from, that is called a set-up.
If there really is a divine plan then why pray? Do you really need to pray to tell God what is going on in your life? Does he not know what is happening everywhere? Is God somehow ignorant of what is going on in your life if everything is part of his PLAN? Do you actually have to TELL God that you need help or that you are grateful for something? Did God forget that part of his plan? What good is prayer going to do? Will God change his entire plan just because some unworthy human selfishly wants something changed just to suit them? If there is a plan then everything in the world is part of that plan, including any crappy events now unfolding in our lives. People commit homicide by child abuse, wrap cars around trees, kick puppies, get hooked on drugs and strap on bombs because it is ALL PART OF GOD'S MASTER PLAN.
People also pray to God for Him to not lead them into temptation (unless I have somehow misremembered the Lord's Prayer). What is up with that? Love God! Obey God! Tell God how cool He is and praise His all-encompassing goodness and mercy with every breath.....but watch your step because He could TRICK YOU and lead you into temptation and eternal damnation! Leading you into temptation means God is deliberately putting you into harm's way, which is why the prayer says "lead us not into" instead of "shield us from” temptation.
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things. (Isaiah 45:7)
God condemns humans for being evil yet God created everything, including evil. Humans are lesser than God so how can a human possibly resist being what God wants that person to become, or resist being exactly what God made that person to be?
On Biblical Morality…or the lack thereof
Why didn't God make sure we had some real, universal, impossible-to-screw-up rules to govern ourselves with? Surely God knew what sort of confusion the holy bible was going to stir up. The Ten Commandments are not passable as rules only a few of them are worthy of being considered as guides for society. Don't kill, don't steal, don't lie. The rest are pretty much useless. The rule about not worshiping any other gods before God definitely says that there ARE other gods just that they can't be worshiped ahead of God because he is Jealous (which is also one of the seven deadly sins); otherwise God would have said I am the only god there is. This directly contradicts the Christian claim that there is only one god. (Or is it three....?)
Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods: for in the thing wherein they dealt proudly he was above them. (Exodus 18:11).
What is wrong with coveting what someone else has? It's not like you are planning on STEALING it, especially since stealing is forbidden.
"Wow, what a nice car. I wish I had one of those."
"Hey, man, I just played my friends new gaming system! I have GOT to get me one of them!"
“She got a degree after all her kids started school. I want a degree too. If she can do it, so can I!”
Yeah, I can see where those thoughts will send someone straight to hell.
Why didn't God say that slavery is evil instead of condoning slavery and giving laws on the treatment of slaves?
"As for the male and female slaves whom you may have, it is from the nations around you that you may acquire male and female slaves." (Leviticus 25:44, NRSV)
And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money. (Exodus 21:20-21)
Why doesn’t the bible speak against people having sex with children? Instead, it gives guidelines and conditions of having sex with little girls. Humans have made sex with children a crime but God is telling people to go ahead with raping little girls. Who is lacking in morals now?
31:17 Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman that hath known man by lying with him.
31:18 But all the women children, that have not known a man by lying with him, keep alive for yourselves.
31:32 And the booty, being the rest of the prey which the men of war had caught, was six hundred thousand and seventy thousand and five thousand sheep....
31:35 And thirty and two thousand persons in all, of women that had not known man by lying with him.
How did they determine which of the young girls had slept with a man?
How does one go about choosing the RIGHT church to attend of all the choices in the phone book? Since one has maybe a one in thirty to a one in a hundred chance of choosing the correct church, then isn't one just better off not going at all rather than offending God by worshipping at the WRONG church?How young were the girls when that happened to them, after they had to watch their rapists slaughter their families and friends? Eleven? Twelve? Thirteen? Given the age at which a lot of females were married off to men and that these children hadn't been married off, then these men are raping little girls who would be 5th-6th-7th graders in American society. We hate men who do that to girls now and yet Christians want to worship a GOD who CONDONES such actions? And even now, people give tithes to religious organizations that shelter pedophiles. Is this Christianity’s way of saying that sex with children really is OK, just like in the Bible?
Why can’t God give plain rules on abortion, which I would argue that he is OK with since an average of one in five pregnancies ends in a miscarriage,(also known as a spontaneous abortion). Since God has his Plan and is in control of everything, then that means that he is responsible for deliberately ending 20% of all human pregnancies. How can abortion be a bad thing when God himself kills that many unborn babies? He also ordered the Hebrews to kill pregnant women--or is that not an abortion because momma died too?
The Old Testament is full of what can only be described as crimes against humanity that the writers of the OT claim to be commands from God. The OT has rules on the treatment of slaves, selling your daughters into sexual slavery and the proper procedures to follow before raping female spoils of war. Try using those rules to conduct yourself today and see what happens. If God told Bush to start the war in Iraq then why weren't our soldiers bashing infants’ heads against rocks? That was good enough in the Old Testament so why not now, if God's word is unchanging and perfect? Maybe it’s because we realize how barbaric and bloody the Old Testament is, even if most Christians don't want to admit to it. Christians can't claim that it is because Jesus changed the rules since Jesus says quite plainly that he was not here to change one bit of the law.
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. Matthew 5:17
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. Matthew 10:34-37
How do people pick and choose what scriptural morals to emulate from the perfect and unchanging word of God... in its numerous translations over the past five thousand years to the several versions now in publication and available for purchase? If the Bible is the only source of moral guidance then why don't people follow every rule and regulation? Is it because they don't agree with some of the rules? Do they find them outlandish or offensive? If the Bible is the only source of morals then how does one decide what parts of the book that is the perfect and inspired word of God they will follow?
By not following all of the rules of the Bible, are they then saying, by action, that they do not think the Bible is correct about everything?
By not following all the rules of the Bible, are they not saying that they think God is wrong?