11/13/2012 | Share this article: View CommentsBy WizenedSage (Galen Rose) ~
We hear this tired old cliché so often, that nearly all of you know the rest of it. But for that 1% who never got the word, this bit of Christian assurance goes like this, “God hates the sin, but loves the sinner.”
Yes, Christians know this. There’s no “appears to hate the sin,” or “usually hates the sin.” There’s no equivocating, no waffle, no doubt in the way Christians press this Truth upon us. God loves sinners, and that’s that.
Imagine my surprise then, when I came across this passage in the Christians’ foundational document:
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. . . And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth . . . And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.” (Genesis 6)
The earth was filled with sinners, and god loves the sinner, so . . . Huh? He drowns them all except one family? Have I totally misunderstood the word “love?” all these years?
And that, of course, is just the beginning. Later on, in this much revered Christian manual, we find, “And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt.” And then, “Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her god: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.”
God also determines that those tribes of the Holy Land who were not his chosen were sinners. Therefore, he orders the destruction of all the Amalekites, and tens of thousands of Syrians, Moabites, Philistines, Ammonites, Assyrians, 120, 000 Judeans in one day (2 Chronicles 28), and many, many more. He even has two bears maul 42 children for teasing a bald prophet.
God sent Jesus to the earth for the benefit of sinners, so he must love those sinners.How does anyone reading about these things, and dozens of other, similar atrocities, come to the conclusion that god loves sinners? Are we just not understanding? Did Hitler also love the Jews?
Now, at this point, some Christian reading this wants to scream at me that god sent Jesus to the earth for the benefit of sinners, so he must love those sinners. Au contraire, mon ami. Actually, Jesus is also pretty clear on what happens to at least some sinners: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28)
Which brings me to the coup de grâce of this argument which, of course, is hell. How in hell does one argue, with a straight face, that god loves sinners so he created a place of eternal torture for them called hell?
Now the Catholics giving up some frill for Lent seems just silly, but those Christians who give up thought for life are really the sad ones. When you next hear this comment on sin and sinners, I hope you will point out that a sinner-loving god is in no way consistent with the existence of hell.
Some serious mental hassle, or cognitive dissonance, is a necessary step in anyone’s escape from religion, so do your part – when someone is just asking for it, give it to them!