- Religion and Philosophy
The Uncomfortable Truth about Christianity: Matthew 7:21-23
An uncomfortable reality
"21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’" Matthew 7:21-23
A lot of theists, Christians especially, like to shine the spotlight on the highlights of Christianity. The feel-good parts. The nice, neighborly aspects. They quickly distance themselves from the harsh realities of the Old Testament, many even going as far to decry some of the actions of their god to be immoral - or at the very least - time-honored traditions that no longer apply in the New Testament after Jesus. They tout the New Testament around like it's the pinnacle of morality with the "love thy neighbor" and "do good to those who persecute you" and the "meek shall inherit the earth". They claim, falsely, that Jesus is all good, loving and kind - when this particular verse in Matthew directly contradicts their claim.
Faith Vs. Works:
There is a huge disagreement between Christian sects on the concept of salvation via faith or works. Some biblical passages maintain adamantly that all is necessary to approach the kingdom of heaven is to believe that jesus is the son of god and poof! You're good. Others maintain, with scriptural references to back them up, that if you do not do good works, you're not truly saved - and that your fruit is proof of your eternal salvation. there is also a huge debate between whether salvation is permanent - or if it can be lost. For me personally, I didn't lose it - I gave it up, willingly. I no longer choose to submit to a non-existent god-being who behaves so repulsively as depicted in his one and only method of communication between himself and his people - if they are his people at all. As far as faith vs. works, however, Jesus himself seems to make things rather clear.
No True Scottsman:
A lot of Christians are quick to point out that any other "self-proclaimed" Christians who act in a manner inconsistent with their own interpretation of scripture are not "true" Christians. For example, moderate Christians demonize fundamental denominations like the West-borough Baptist Church - if they even realize that they exist. What they fail to realize, however, is that although West-borough and the Phelps clan act repulsively, they are acting in accordance with scripture. They are true to the letter of the word that they eagerly proclaim to be perfect and infallible. Their message may make you uncomfortable - but it is biblically accurate. God punishes entire nations for errors in judgement, just look at the Old Testament. Although Jesus may seem on the surface to be the 'softer side of the almighty', when you dig deeper, things become a little more fuzzy.
In the passage in Matthew listed above, Jesus' words could not be any more clear. I don't know many Christians today that are successfully raising the dead, casting out demons or creating prophecies. Many Christians have claimed to know the moment of the end of the world, but these dates have come and gone - and the world is still here, in all of its secular glory. Sure, TV evangelists make a big show of removing "evil spirits" from those in their congregation - and they make a healthy living off of these sideshow tricks. With all of these signs, however, it's not good enough. Jesus makes it clear - unless you do the will of his father (which would encompass the Old Testament laws and commandments) you do not truly know Jesus - and when the end finally comes - he will reject YOU.
An Uncomfortable Analogy:
This analogy is as difficult for me to write as it probably is to read - but it's perfectly necessary. As you're walking by in the woods or desert or wilderness, you see a child. They're clearly frightened and in pain. As you move closer, you notice that they're standing on something. In Africa, there are terrible ants called "siafu". They easily overpower cattle, children and even adults. They kill their victims by suffocation, primarily - and they behave similarly to army ants - on steroids. When you look closer at the child, you notice that they're standing in the path of a horde of Siafu. As you watch, several ants begin crawling up the child's legs. More follow. Before long, the child is covered in them - and they're beginning to swarm around the legs and mouth. If you do nothing, the child will die.
Instead of thinking of this as just any child, now imagine that it's YOUR child. You watch, horrified, knowing that they're going to experience a horrific and painful death - unless you do something to stop it. But then you remember. Yesterday, your child got angry with you. They told you that they hated you, and they wished to have another parent. Because of that, you look at them and say "you're not my son/daughter. I don't know you". Then you turn your back on them, ignore their screams of fear and pain - and walk away without a second thought.
Could you leave that child to suffer? Could you leave your child to suffer a temporary, yet horrific death? Jesus can - and if you believe the bible, he WILL - despite all of the things you've said, the miracles you've done and the way that you've tried to live a life pleasing to him. Unless you've done the "will of his father' you are doomed - and your future is not a fleeting, painful death. It's an eternity in hell, where you will be tortured and in agony - forever. Your time on earth is brief in the scope of an eternity. For all the crimes you committed on earth - finite crimes - you are doomed to torture and pain - forever. If it makes you feel any better, however, your christian friends can sit in heaven and watch while you suffer, however. That makes a world of difference, I'm sure.
The majority of society is hard-wired to want to protect the innocent. While not true for everybody, the large majority of people would not sit idly by and watch a child be killed by ants - or a dog - or even another human being. Most of us would act - even if that action was only to call for help. Yet god, who supposedly created all mankind in his image, would sit on the sidelines. If the god of the bible is real, he has created a twisted reality for his creation. You have a limited amount of time to figure out the truth - without any evidence to back that truth up. If you succeed, you can (hopefully) avoid the torture and go straight to paradise. If you don't, you're eternally doomed. The biblical god set up a system by which his "enemy" wins by default. According to Christian doctrine, Satan is the prince of this world. If you live and choose against god, satan wins. If you choose the wrong god, satan wins. If you think you accept god but don't make the right choices, satan wins. God only wins if you obey his myriad of commands, follow the right doctrine, act perfectly and do things correctly - a system almost impossible to live up to. Only a small fraction of people will end up in this god's paradise - although he claims repeatedly to want everyone to be saved. Although his will is for all to know and love him, he has no problem sending the majority of his creation to their eternal torments, never to be redeemed. Is this a loving father? No. It's a sadistic, psychopathic tyrant - who gets off on the suffering of his children.