Why I Think Christianity Is Ridiculous, Part 2
In my first blog of this series I explained why I think the concept of Jesus dying for our sins is a ridiculous one. In this blog I will discuss what I see as the failings of the concept of God’s having created us at all.
One of the ironies I find in my discussions with some Christians is that they say that without God life is meaningless. It is my contention that life without God enhances life meaning, not demeans it.
I point out that I live a life without God and that it has a great deal of meaning. The meaning lies in what I find important. And what I find most important is what most humans find important … interpersonal relationships with those people I love. And I have that with or without God.
Some theists assert this is illogical. But from what I can tell their reasoning behind such an assertion is full of blatant non-sequiturs about life being reduced to chemical reactions. The idea is that chemical reactions cannot give rise to emotional thoughts such as love. This is simply an argument from personal incredulity. Who says it can’t. The chemical reactions within us include the making of and strengthening of the trillions of synapses within our brain and the subtle interactions between brain cells. These “reactions” are varied enough for us to think any thoughts we may ever think. Thus, they certainly CAN give rise to meaning in ones life.
But let’s explore the flip side of that argument. Theists say that God gives their life meaning. They say that God put us here for a purpose. OK, … what meaning? ... what purpose? In other words, exactly why did God make humanity in the first place? From God’s perspective (not ours) what IS our purpose?
From our point of view we see a highly complex and ordered universe. Prior to the rise of science we saw no way that this could come about by natural means. The natural conclusion to come to was someone must have done it. But we seldom seem to take the next step and ask … “Why?” The reason is, because it is an uncomfortable question that doesn’t pass scrutiny.
But, to be fair, the question has been asked ... and many answers have been given. Unfortunately, all the answers seem to be ridiculous. Here are some of the common answers I have noted.
(1) God wants to have a personal relationship with us.
If this is his purpose then he has chosen a singularly ridiculous way of going about it. I want to have a personal relationship with my teenage son. I have tried to do this by being around him as he grew up, living with him in the same house, letting him see the things I do, talking and listening to him, following his progression, letting him know without a doubt how I feel about different things.
God on the other hand, has let no living person see him. He remains ineffable (ie hidden from public view). Why? The bible makes allusions to the idea that the sight of God would be too overwhelming for any human to behold. But this implies that an omnipotent God is unable to figure out a way that he could appear before us and it NOT being overwhelming. How about this … God could appear on TV. What’s wrong with that?
Others have claimed that if God appeared before us it would somehow rob us of our free-will. That if he did that then we would be forced to believe in him and all of a sudden become unthinking automatons. As the father of a teenage son I can attest that my son is 100% convinced that I exist, but it certainly hasn’t made him an automaton, nor has it ensured that he will obey my desires.
God’s ineffability HAS caused needless problems. Or at least, needless IF God actually does exist. One of the main ways God has communicated in the past (and continues today) is for his word to be relayed to the masses from a select few. This allows (a) for his message to be garbled, and (b) for someone, either intentionally or by delusion, to proclaim a false message from God. And these false messages have had devastating consequences. Most recently 9/11 … in the past such things as Andrea Yate’s killing her children, Heaven’s Gate, Jonestown, “Son of Sam” killings, the European Witch Trials, the Inquisition, and others too numerous to mention. All these things could have been cleared up if God would have just presented himself and clarified what his views actually were.
Others claim that the REAL relationship with God will be in heaven. If that were the case, then why are we HERE and not THERE? To me this view of heaven as a reward for a life lived according to God’s wishes reduces our life here on Earth to some type of macabre Heaven Entrance Exam … and an entrance exam that has very little to do with preparing you to live a blissful life in heaven.
Why is a person who at the end of his life on earth believe that Jesus Christ is his personal savior be better suited to spend an ETERNITY in heaven than someone who lived an equally good life but believed in Allah, Brahma, Buddha, or none of the above?
If God desired a relationship with us and intended that relationship to be an eternal one in heaven, then the REASONABLE thing to do is make us in heaven. That way he need not go to the trouble of creating a universe of such immense dimensions or the numerous lifeforms that lived and died and gone extinct before we ever arrived on the scene. It would have saved a lot of needless suffering.
This website, however, has several others answers to the question which I would like to address.
(2) It begins by saying that God to created us for his own purposes and likens us to God’s sheep.
What this analogy implies is that we are to God as sheep are to us. But it should be pointed that to US the purpose of sheep is to provide wool for clothing, and food to eat. Making the assumption that God doesn’t need us for either clothing or food, then this cannot be what the analogy really means. But if not that then what?
To understand the analogy we need to realize It is from the SHEEP’S point of view. From the sheep’s point of view, our purpose is to take care of them and keep them safe harm. So this analogy only tells us the purpose of God for us, not our purpose for him. And it is our purpose for him that would be the ultimate answer to the question of why it is that God made us. This error in logic is a common problem on this website and a common problem with much of the Christian apologetics.
If we view this as a valid purpose for God to have made us, then it implies that God made us for the purpose of keeping us safe from harm. But … he is also the one who made the things that could harm us.
(3) The same websites also says that Man was created to serve and glorify God.
Serve?? If someone is of service to me, they have done something that makes my life easier. What is it that we can do to make God’s life easier? Are we doing it?
Glorify?? If I do something spectacular, I may feel good about it, but I do not get glory from it unless OTHERS recognize it as spectacular as well. So who is God wanting glory from?
Again this is written from OUR point of view, not God’s. If there were an entity that actually COULD create us specifically then WE would rightly glorify God … to EACH OTHER. That would make sense. But if God actually made us so that we would all think his is a great guy, then God has a BIG self-esteem problem.
(4) The final reason the website gives for God to create us is “Man’s Sanctification”.
What does that mean? According to the website, it is means that God created us so we can live a holy life … and by holy life it means keeping God’s laws and doing good deeds.
For the moment, I’ll not delve into the many examples of “God’s laws” in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy that are truly horrendous and anybody who would actually keep them would deserve to spend their entire lives locked in prison to protect the rest of society.
Instead let’s look at the logic behind the concept. God makes mankind to be “good”. Again, that makes sense from OUR perspective. Everyone living by an agreed upon set of rules makes a society possible and makes it so we can prosper. But if we look at it from a universe-centered (as opposed to a self-centered) point of view, it says that God made the universe, all the lifeforms in it, and us so we could obey a set of rules that make no difference to the universe as a whole. What we do, or not do does nothing to keep the universe on a proper course. It did nothing for the billions of species that went extinct before we ever came along. It hasn’t even been overly beneficial to the world since we have been around. Our stewardship of the earth has resulted in the beginning of what could very well be Earth’s 6th great extinction event.
Another problem goes back to the lack of a coherent message as to what “God’s laws” really are. Certainly we no longer believe that they are what we thought they were during the times of European Witch trials. Virtually no one today thinks that God’s law promotes slavery, but slavery was unquestioned at the time of Jesus, and Jesus never spoke a word against it. Furthermore, I doubt if many believers reading this blog thinks God’s law encourages one to hijack aircraft and fly them into buildings. But some people did, and today a lot of people still praise those nineteen assholes for having done God’s will. If it were truly God’s will that we follow his laws, then he has done a piss-poor job of making his laws clear.
Obviously, answering all possible answers of why it is that God made us is beyond the scope of this blog. I have discussed some of the more common answers to the question and found them wanting. I have also read quite a few Christian apologetics on the subject. I am underwhelmed with all so far. I find that the answer almost always boils down to a combination of some of the above answers.
For instance there was a noted Christian apologist in the early 1900’s, W. E. Orchard. He said that God’s purpose for making mankind is “to create a society of souls that should form the body of Christ”. Sounds profound … but then again so does almost everything that is incomprehensible. After cutting through a great deal of similarly sounding bullshit, it comes down to spending eternity with God in heaven. Nowhere in his essay does he even consider the ludicrousness of the concept of God creating us on Earth to spend time with him in heaven.
So in conclusion, for all those people who claim that without God their life would be meaningless, it is no more meaningful WITH him. Meaning comes from what we find important. While we all have our individual perspectives on exactly what is important, but there are things that fall on almost everyone’s list. I think that almost everyone will agree that other people are important in their lives. Specifically the people they love and those who love them back. I think it is much better to devote our lives to them and to their welfare than it is to a non-existent God and his welfare. Being without God does not distract from life’s meaning. It enhances life’s meaning. It makes THIS life much more important.
This is the only life you will ever have, make it the best one possible. You are not going to get a second chance in heaven. You wont atone for your mistakes after you die. Atone for them before you die. Atone for them to the people you owe atonement to.
You are not going to enjoy eternity in heaven. Enjoy what time you have here. Enjoy it in such a way that the joy can be shared with your love ones. Do what you need to do to succeed while respecting the rights of others. Do what you can do to help your significant others succeed as well. After our death our only lasting effect on the world will be made through the effect we have had on others.That is our legacy, and we have some measure of control over that.
This is a vast unimaginably huge universe. There are opportunities for everyone. You need to find them, you’ll need help achieving them, … but that is where the enjoyment in life comes from. If you think that the universe is meaningless without God then you need to get a life … a meaningful one … and one that is your own.