- Religion and Philosophy
Christianity, Faith, and Why I Left It So Young
I know I've touched on this topic a bit already in my Agnosticism article a while back, but the issue of religion still sits stationary in my mind and the one I've been brought up in, Christianity, has always plagued my mind since I started becoming truly sentient in my thinking. I never felt anything but alienated in every youth group I was a part of growing up, sitting in the corner alone with not one of my supposed "brothers" and "sisters" treating me like one of their own. If I ever tried to speak to anybody they dismissed me as a loser immediately and I thought, "Well if these are God's children then I must be evil." But as I grew older I simply realized that I was just not buying the words being read and saw the hypocrisy of most of those who play Follow the Leader.
Most major religions and the whole ideology of “faith” to me can be described in one way: It makes sense if you don't think about it; Christianity doesn't escape and is the closest target for my loathing. I've heard and seen the topic of Christianity discussed by Christopher Hitchens and have spoken with my father on the Bible's many, many fallible aspects in the attempt to create a portrait of a loving God, in addition to other readings, watching and inferences of my own personal experiences with followers, many of whom hate the terms "religion" or "Christian" when they're truly what provides basis for their values. One thing Hitchens has begun to teach me in his writings (and it's too late to follow him, sadly) is that keeping conversations uncomfortable is a huge step in standing up for yourself and your beliefs.
So, I've decided to write this as an exploratory expression of my own beliefs about Christianity specifically, and all of what was crammed into my head with a fairy tale impressionism, which still isn't far at all from what the supposed adults put their faith in. And, yeah, most of it does sit within the Old Testament, but that's only because I feel going through the whole story arc would take too long for a single Hub.
One thing in the Bible, the one that gripes me most, is that God is portrayed as a being of bipolar rage all throughout, especially in the Old Testament. God killed more people in the Bible than Satan ever touched. He (and yes, he's gender-assigned) caused the Great Flood, demanded human sacrifices, and ultimately killed his son to serve as a wake-up call to humanity. Therefore, my parents are more loving and caring than God. This is an entity I do not want to worship. Ever.
The very fact that Christianity relies on the belief in a sacrificial martyr is in itself completely inhumane. It's impossible for me to believe that the whole foundation for faith and humanity's salvation from sin is dependent on a man's incomparable suffering, and that in order to be saved yourself you must believe that he is--above all of us inferiors--the one true son of God. The fact that God would have his own son tortured in order to save every one of his “other” children is irrational and unnecessary. And considering the fact that most people who have come and gone without being caught in the spreading wave of this religion means that, in the end, more people populate Hell than Heaven. Hell has contained and will continue to contain the majority of God's supposed children, if it means that believing in Jesus' sacrifice and being saved through baptism is the only way to paradise.
Not only did God sacrifice his son (or himself, as some Christians have told me, which makes even less sense...) but he also forced a man to do the same to his, only through a more direct means as opposed to condemning him to a terrible torture session. Abraham killing Isaac is a huge, huge issue in logic if what you have in mind is a God of love and, in fact, it supports the idea that God is a divine being of sacrifice, and for no reason other than to prove Abraham's faith; this sacrifice wasn't made to save millions of people, and if it did, they all would have been killed off anyway in the Great Flood, which of course leads me to Noah.
The fact that Noah was charged with the building of an ark is insane enough. This project alone of course would be a grueling task even for the most astute carpenter, like, say, Jesus. It's also part of what makes The Bible feel more ridiculous than the most eccentric fantasy novel. But the fact that Noah was also charged with bringing every animal together is also not only impossible, but only adds insult to injury. And why does God do this? To restart. Yes, to restart a humanity that was truly flawed from the beginning. This brings me to Adam and Eve, the very start. And for those who say, “Well, there are some things that we don't take from the Bible,” that's ridiculous. Who's to say what you can leave in or take out from the text? Your minister? Your priest? How much should be altered before you simply reconstruct and censor the whole thing?
But back to the two first creations, Adam and Eve. God became frustrated because these two wound up falling victim to temptation. That essentially means that God created two imperfect, impure humans who were able to fall victim to this very emotion. If God was creating man (and woman, after man's ribs) in his own image, then this means that God himself is an imperfect, flawed entity. If Adam and Eve were truly perfect then temptation wouldn't have been an issue, but of course the talking snake changed that real fast, making them impure, which in turn would mean God can be turned impure.
See, the idea that God and Satan, Good and Bad, are separate, has always kind of bothered me the more I've thought about it. The more I contemplate, the more I realize that mankind has yet to paint a picture of an all-embracing figure, one that doesn't discriminate against any individual and can fully empathize and provide unconditional love to every single entity in this universe. And the need to anthropomorphize and personify this entity is entirely human, and immature. It's not far off from worshiping a spaghetti monster. But until we evolve and progress far enough forward we're still going to be archaic in our thinking, trapped in prisons, hiding withheld truth.
Most people feel a need to belong instead of developing independent individuality for fear of being alone, but for me, worshiping something I can't see or know is there for certain, other than through some deluded psychological defense mechanism that there is truly another reality, is an incoherent idea. The Bible to me is a novel that was written as a tool for the Roman Empire to retain moral control of its people. That doesn't mean I can't ever believe something lies beyond death, but I refuse to live my life in any way that prevents me from enjoying it like it's the last life I'll ever know.