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The Blessings of Being a Christian When There is No God

By Carl S ~

Those blessed by being raised in Christian communities don't have to go through the trouble of choosing a faith. The “faith of our fathers” (and mothers) has been handed down to them, surviving tyrannies and persecuting monarchies, though we don't talk about how the faith supported those tyrants and monarchs. This “one true” religion has adapted. It's a blessing God has denied to Islam.

The most popular word for Christians is “blessed.” They will say, “Bless you” whether you're up or down; even when they believe you're damned to perdition. They'll tell each other if you have a peaceful death, that's a “bless-ed” one, but if it's obvious your death will be in agony, then assuredly you will be “all the more blessed in heaven.” If you're a true believer, you have an automatic insurance plan to eternal life – provided you keep up the payments. Christians consider themselves blessed because they've been “saved, chosen, and given access to the Truth.” For this reason, it's a blessing they don’t have to be bothered with searching for truth or answers to the big questions of mortality, evil and suffering in the world, etc. If they do, the church leaders are available to allay fears and doubts.

Now, that ”blessed forgiveness of God for original sin” they talk about, is akin to this: telling Native Americans: “You resisted our advancements and fought against us. You should be grateful we left you any land at all.”

If you were born into and raised in a Christian community, you ought to be aware of its blessings. It's set up to keep you comforted, comfortable, controllable, and compliant. (Two out of four of those you’d have anyhow, if you were born without religion). The same goes for an Islamic community or a cult commune. If you obey, you're a real “blessing” for everyone. Don't take my word for it. Ask around. Just stay on that “straight and narrow path” and get rewarded. We're all in this together; it's how God works. When it comes time to vote, the decisions are made for you. Vote for Christians only, vote pro-choice, (Let those women die from back-alley abortions. They deserve it), and choose against all “progressives.” How easy it is.

Being part of a Christian community is being among those who cannot clearly explain their most cherished beliefs. They presume to think you’re one of them, so they speak in insider code phrases they haven't thought about. Believers assume you understand “You know,” and “I feel in my heart,” and “I believe,” to be adequate answers to your queries. It's as if they're saying, “Well - We know, you know?” In an odd way, that's supposed to be a blessing, too.

Some “outsiders” are blessed in joining a church community, but not until then. Benefits for them may mean financial help, trips to the grocery and clinic. This might include help with the kids, if the parent doesn't mind them being indoctrinated. Those benefits may not be available, or have been exhausted, from other places. All you have to do is claim to believe. It may not be easy, but it's survival. And one more member is welcome, even one who tokenly supports the flimsy structure of belief. After all, it isn't “God” helping, it's, as always, humans, who tell themselves God has sent those in need to them.

“Blessings” fall under the heading of comfort. Faith gives comfort, assurance, by “being of one mind with Christ,” as St. Paul conjectured. So let's everyone get out the Casino of Prayers of their choice. Religion is a business. Like a fast-food enterprise, it has to keep upgrading the menus to attract new customers and keep the regulars coming back. It creates environments of praise to God via entertainment. All the more praise if guitars and keyboards and drums fill the air, amplified by state-of-the-art audio equipment. Shout out the doubt. What does it cost? Thousands? Millions? It's all for the glory of God! You can't spend too much for that, and he'll reward you a hundredfold for your sacrifice.

But wait, I ask. Shouldn't those expenditures be used for the poor, the severely depressed homeless, those who struggle to feed their children, those having to choose between food and prescriptions? What about them? The answer I perceive is this: the Lord is not blessing them as he has us; it must be their fault. They must not truly, truly, believe in Jesus. Rewards on earth, and even prosperity, will come to those who truly follow his commandments. It is written. But - isn't that Old Testament God stuff? I say, who rewards the upright in the here and now, and does just the opposite for the bad people? Even then, the psalmist constantly bitched because the bad guys were prospering while he, the upright one, had a miserable existence. But no, this is the recent good news Christianity: rewards on Earth, plus “many mansions” rewards in heaven. (Reasons why Mormons are included as Christians.) You and yours and the church community are the Chosen people. Sounds greedy to me. Is this what it's come to?

Believers assume you understand “You know,” and “I feel in my heart,” and “I believe,” to be adequate answers to your queries. It's as if they're saying, “Well - We know, you know?”Chisel away at the very ornate plaster facade and plaster saints of faith and you'll find the faithful within curled up like chipmunks against the cold world outside. The comfort of faith depends on defying the cold realities of the world. But the comfortable in faith don't want to leave the rest of us alone. They try to force, through uprooting humane laws, societies they consider un-Godlike. They want everyone to share the blessings of faith, even if they have to be forced on them, The “fun in fundamentalism” becomes “danger and damage” whenever and wherever it damns individuality.

Christians will parrot the phrase, “There's a hole in you, and it has to be filled with God.” Maybe they're revealing their own feared emptiness. What if the “hole” they fear is all about fear to be alone with oneself? What if “community” is their response to solitude, to an unconfronted fear of what they'll find in that quiet? Is the self a hell to be avoided? Think about it from where they're coming from: if for your entire life you've been taught you're essentially bad, then self-discovery must mean confronting the worst in yourself, right? That's some scary shit.

For me, solitude is very welcome, healthy, necessary for the mind and sanity. Individuality is very important, and individuality is explored and exposed in solitude. (Be careful, though. At the age of 18, I took a trip over a hundred miles with an expectation of readmission to a religious community. I was told, “You're lying to yourself.” Having to non-verbally agree, I went back, but learned a lesson on the way. It wasn't as if I traveled thousands of miles to seek wisdom from a guru or Zen master, but it worked. I try to be aware of, and to reject, lying to myself.)

What a pity it would be to arrive in senior years to find you haven't understood or even known yourself because you didn't take time out to do so!

So - Where is “God” in “Christianity?” As it is, there's no god there; only humans. Unless “God” just happens to be an Indivisible Dealer of “blessings.” Send in your money. Now.