Skip to main content

Crown me with many crowns

By Alex Balderstone ~

I’d like to discuss something which I am yet to see mentioned amongst ex-Christians. It is the Bible’s viewpoint on rewards in Heaven. Throughout my journey in quizzing the nature of the Bible in certain quarters, the reward system horrifies me, only to be beaten by the horrific nature of Hell, punishment and justice.

In particular, the Five Crowns are often talked about. These are:

  1. The Crown of Righteousness
  2. The Incorruptible Crown
  3. The Crown of Life
  4. The Crown of Rejoicing
  5. The Crown of Glory

And I’d like to add this too:
and each one will receive His own reward ACCORDING TO HIS OWN LABOR. (1 Corinthians 3:8)

This is a massive problem, coming into direct conflict with my personality, as I’m sure it will for many of you too. Throughout my mere 20 years on this Earth, I’ve received many awards and rewards for academic and extra-curricular activities. I’m not a straight A student, but I’ve always modelled myself on working damn hard and that even if the end result is not what I had hoped, I can always say that I put 100% effort into it.
Yet each time I picked up a certificate, a thank you card, a monetary gift, it was always done through humbleness and humility. I’m not keen on rewards, because any good act that I do, I choose to do because any decent person would do it anyway.

To my disgust, I see countless Christians on the internet using these rewards as a motivation to be ‘good’. And in turn, they claim that because they are reborn in Christ, they are new creatures doing God’s work. Incentives can spur people on to do great things, let me clear that bit up. However, to constantly recite it as a sort of mantra is disturbing.

Two years ago, I decided to go on a weight loss journey. I used the incentive of my friends seeing me looking sharp, trendy, slim and lean. However, after I had achieved my weight goal, it was difficult to find a source of motivation. My friends became used to the way I looked and behaved about nutrition and exercise. I looked for a new goal. I decided that I could carry on because if I didn’t, I would regain all my weight, look ugly and once again, become the centre of mockery. However, this is a terrible way to make a decision on health. I concluded after watching much of The Biggest Loser with Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels that I should carry on with being healthy, because it is the RIGHT thing to do for my body and mind. It was a choice to change my lifestyle.

Now, I shall refer back to the idea of rewards and doing good deeds. For every human being that is living now and in the future, doing good deeds should be done because it is the RIGHT thing to do. Empathy is an emotion I often use when doing a kind act. I try to imagine how the other person is feeling and do something in return to help them. We know it is the right thing to do because there are no negative consequences, only positive consequences which are often found through a simple ‘thank you’, a hug, a kiss, a favour returned. You get the idea anyway. Animals have been doing this in herds and packs for millions of years, helping each other to survive, and to add, assist those we have formed attachments to. It’s in our nature. Psychology on our behaviour and attitudes have proven this.

I fear disappointment from those around me if I have not done something good. It is through that disappointment that I strive to be better, almost a sort of retributive injection to better myself. Christians tend to use the motivation of Hell, loss of rewards, or their desire to please God as motivation. Pleasing those around us seems to be a secondary answer for them. It seems to reflect an egotistical nature which Christians immediately reject, but when two of those three elements above concern themselves, it’s difficult for them to argue.

To conclude, the only real reward for my labours in any such Heaven would be that no one is lost, that everyone is together. In any afterlife, I only wish to be with my family, loved ones, friends etc. I’m sure for atheists, agnostics who do not believe in an afterlife, if you did, your wish would follow along those lines. I shall pose five questions below for Christians to think about:

  1. How can Christians imagine themselves claiming the Crowns of Righteousness when there is unjust punishment to non-believers and sinners? The word retribution and rehabilitation seem to be absent. A Christian cannot be righteous in the wake of such injustice.
  3. How can a Christian claim an Incorruptible Crown when their mere values and morals have been corrupted by unjust punishment? An incorruptible soul with no sense of justice is a regression in spiritual growth.
  5. How can a Christian claim the Crown of Life when there is a mass dose of spiritual genocide taking place depending on whether you believe in eternal torture or soul extinction? The Crown is beneficial only to you, not the lives of others. Not exactly a Crown of Life.
  7. How can a Christian claim the Crown of Rejoicing when as mentioned above, spiritual torture or genocide is taking place? Destruction of sin is fine, but destruction of a soul, or its eternal torment warrants no such rejoicing, not if you're a human being with any sort of morals.
  9. How can a Christian claim the Crown of Glory when the majority of Mankind is lost? There's no glory when loved ones are not there to celebrate with you.

The type of rewards one asks for often reflects the type of person they are. I’ve done some regretful things in my life, but the one thing that the dark side of Christianity has done to me is expose that despite all the sins I have done, I harbour values and principles which fundamentalist Christians rarely display. Friendship, loyalty, understanding, compassion for your fellow man.

For a final sentence to this piece:

Family, friends, close connections should be the only ‘reward’ anyone ever asks for. It’s what human beings need to survive anywhere.


Popular posts from this blog

Are You an Atheist Success Story?

By Avangelism Project ~ F acts don’t spread. Stories do. It’s how (good) marketing works, it’s how elections (unfortunately) are won and lost, and it’s how (all) religion spreads. Proselytization isn’t accomplished with better arguments. It’s accomplished with better stories and it’s time we atheists catch up. It’s not like atheists don’t love a good story. Head over to the atheist reddit and take a look if you don’t believe me. We’re all over stories painting religion in a bad light. Nothing wrong with that, but we ignore the value of a story or a testimonial when we’re dealing with Christians. We can’t be so proud to argue the semantics of whether atheism is a belief or deconversion is actually proselytization. When we become more interested in defining our terms than in affecting people, we’ve relegated ourselves to irrelevance preferring to be smug in our minority, but semantically correct, nonbelief. Results Determine Reality The thing is when we opt to bury our

So Just How Dumb Were Jesus’ Disciples? The Resurrection, Part VII.

By Robert Conner ~ T he first mention of Jesus’ resurrection comes from a letter written by Paul of Tarsus. Paul appears to have had no interest whatsoever in the “historical” Jesus: “even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, we know him so no longer.” ( 2 Corinthians 5:16 ) Paul’s surviving letters never once mention any of Jesus’ many exorcisms and healings, the raising of Lazarus, or Jesus’ virgin birth, and barely allude to Jesus’ teaching. For Paul, Jesus only gets interesting after he’s dead, but even here Paul’s attention to detail is sketchy at best. For instance, Paul says Jesus “was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” ( 1 Corinthians 15:4 ), but there are no scriptures that foretell the Jewish Messiah would at long last appear only to die at the hands of Gentiles, much less that the Messiah would then be raised from the dead after three days. After his miraculous conversion on the road to Damascus—an event Paul never mentions in his lette

Christian TV presenter reads out Star Wars plot as story of salvation

An email prankster tricked the host of a Christian TV show into reading out the plots of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air and Star Wars in the belief they were stories of personal salvation. The unsuspecting host read out most of the opening rap to The Fresh Prince, a 1990s US sitcom starring Will Smith , apparently unaware that it was not a genuine testimony of faith. The prankster had slightly adapted the lyrics but the references to a misspent youth playing basketball in West Philadelphia would have been instantly familiar to most viewers. The lines read out by the DJ included: "One day a couple of guys who were up to no good starting making trouble in my living area. I ended up getting into a fight, which terrified my mother." The presenter on Genesis TV , a British Christian channel, eventually realised that he was being pranked and cut the story short – only to move on to another spoof email based on the plot of the Star Wars films. It began: &quo


By David Andrew Dugle ~   S ettle down now children, here's the story from the Book of David called The Parable of the Bent Cross. In the land Southeast of Eden –  Eden, Minnesota that is – between two rivers called the Big Miami and the Little Miami, in the name of Saint Gertrude there was once built a church. Here next to it was also built a fine parochial school. The congregation thrived and after a multitude of years, a new, bigger church was erected, well made with clean straight lines and a high steeple topped with a tall, thin cross of gold. The faithful felt proud, but now very low was their money. Their Sunday offerings and school fees did not suffice. Anon, they decided to raise money in an unclean way. One fine summer day the faithful erected tents in the chariot lot between the two buildings. In the tents they set up all manner of games – ring toss, bingo, little mechanical racing horses and roulette wheels – then all who lived in the land between the two rivers we

Morality is not a Good Argument for Christianity

By austinrohm ~ I wrote this article as I was deconverting in my own head: I never talked with anyone about it, but it was a letter I wrote as if I was writing to all the Christians in my life who constantly brought up how morality was the best argument for Christianity. No Christian has read this so far, but it is written from the point of view of a frustrated closeted atheist whose only outlet was organizing his thoughts on the keyboard. A common phrase used with non-Christians is: “Well without God, there isn’t a foundation of morality. If God is not real, then you could go around killing and raping.” There are a few things which must be addressed. 1. Show me objective morality. Define it and show me an example. Different Christians have different moral standards depending on how they interpret the Bible. Often times, they will just find what they believe, then go back into scripture and find a way to validate it. Conversely, many feel a particular action is not

Why I left the Canadian Reformed Church

By Chuck Eelhart ~ I was born into a believing family. The denomination is called Canadian Reformed Church . It is a Dutch Calvinistic Christian Church. My parents were Dutch immigrants to Canada in 1951. They had come from two slightly differing factions of the same Reformed faith in the Netherlands . Arriving unmarried in Canada they joined the slightly more conservative of the factions. It was a small group at first. Being far from Holland and strangers in a new country these young families found a strong bonding point in their church. Deutsch: Heidelberger Katechismus, Druck 1563 (Photo credit: Wikipedia ) I was born in 1955 the third of eventually 9 children. We lived in a small southern Ontario farming community of Fergus. Being young conservative and industrious the community of immigrants prospered. While they did mix and work in the community almost all of the social bonding was within the church group. Being of the first generation born here we had a foot in two