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Religion as Xtreme Sport

By Astreja

There's a lot of black-and-white thinking in the world of the believer.  It's unfortunately quite rare to find nuanced argument; all too often, we're treated to binary ranting and raving.  Don't worship God?  You must be a Devil-worshipper, then.  Not saved?  Then you're condemned.

Things get a little more interesting when one challenges a believer on the morality of their demonstrably immoral god.  Yes, Biblegod destroyed the
________  people, but they must have somehow deserved it. Christian apologists, professionals and amateurs alike, never seem to offer any good historical evidence as to what the
________  people actually did to merit genocide and the express elevator to Hell, but it couldn't possibly have been Biblegod's fault because Biblegod comes predefined as Infinitely Good and Infinitely Just.
We're told that coveting a friend's candy bar is morally exactly equivalent to committing mass murder.This is interesting, because believers of this mindset seem to have a very odd idea as to what "good" and "evil" and "just" and "unjust" actually mean in the real world.

Take, for example, the lunatics-running-the-asylum concept of a mortal giving infinite offense to an omnipotent deity.  How can a mortal harm an immortal?  More to the point, why is said immortal getting upset about something it allegedly knew would happen?  (Or something which it deliberately willed to happen, as the inmates in the Calvinist wing of the asylum would have us believe.)
Even worse, we're told that coveting a friend's candy bar is morally exactly equivalent to committing mass murder.  There's a good reason we don't believe such a thing:  It's hogwash and hand-waving.  Are you, Mr. or Ms. True Believer, really that stupid when you tell us that all "sins" are equally bad in the eyes of your imaginary friend?  (I do grant that this might offer some clues to some of the horrific atrocities committed by Biblegod in the pages of Scripture -- Apparently it doesn't have any more compassion or common sense than does its cheerleading section.)
Finally, there's the carrot and stick of Heaven and Hell.  These are nasty little caricatures, promising solace or satisfaction when life isn't good enough or death isn't bad enough.  They promote an extremely unsophisticated, infantile, even primitivistic worldview where everything can be sorted into two non-intersecting sets and pawned off as "The Truth."
The universe, and our own lives, are delightfully messy, full of ambiguity and uncertainty and breathtaking surprises.  If you want to paint an accurate picture of your life, don't settle for a box with only two grimy crayons.