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11/13/2007                                                                                       View Comments

If you were “God”, would “Religion” be Simple?

By John Fraysse


There is an important adage in engineering circles that goes something like this… “the more important a concept or process is, the simpler it should be to understand.” This is particularly true of instruction manuals. Many of us, (especially guys J) read the instructions as a last resort! I, admittedly, skip the instructions most of the time. Why? Well, it’s because I expect the (properly engineered) process to be self-evident or intuitive. When it is not, or I’m too dumb to figure it out, I read the manual.


I’m sure many of you have heard the Christian admonishment…“when life has you stumped, read the “owner’s manual”, that is, the Bible. Well, I did this and the more I read and studied, the more complicated the “simple godly life” became! But, hold on here! How could anything be more important than “God’s Will and His Salvation”? For to be without them condemns every man, woman and child past, present and future to an unbearable place of unspeakable torture for all eternity!


Since the message of salvation, that is, the Gospel or “Good News” is so important then, it follows that it should also be ubiquitous, unambiguous and very simple to implement for all people throughout the ages. If the characteristics of this timeless and important “message” do not have these features, it would seem to be doomed to failure from the very start. Surely, an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-loving God, the creator of everything and lover of all mankind, could figure this out! In fact, if I were God, I would automate the process so there would be no chance that humans, imperfect as we are, could screw it up! Yep, if I were God, I would make knowing me simple and unconditional.


I love simple things! Simple instructions. Simple controls. Simple operating procedures. Simple plans. Simple explanations. Simple foods (I’ve never trusted casseroles). Most of all, I like simple love, that is, love that I can give and receive without conditions – love I can count on, no matter what. And then there is this Bible verse in 2 Corinthians 11:3 where Paul writes: “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. There it is! Simplicity in Christ! Hallelujah! Glory! Following Christ should be simple.


But alas, following Christ is not simple! The Gospel and “what God wants” or “God’s Will”, are complex subjects, convoluted, nebulous, contradictory in many places and unabashedly vile in others. Further, you must say the “right things”, do the “right things” and believe the “right things”. Unfortunately, there are billions of opinions about what constitutes the “right things” from people reading the same Bible who are supposedly being lead by the same Holy Spirit of God. Over the millennia, this process has proven to be horribly imprecise and anything but simple! All the conflicting instructions and commands, many attached to extremely dire consequences are utterly bewildering. But most here know this, so I will desist and repair to the thesis topic.


Ok, bottom line, I am very interested in your opinions and would like to challenge you a bit. So here are my questions:


a.) In your opinion, what are the most repugnant or complicated Christian/Biblical concepts? Try to cull these down to one or just a few for brevity’s sake.

b.) How did these impact your conversion and/or de-conversion? And finally

c.) If you were “God-for-a-Day”, how would you act toward your creation? Would you make the knowledge of yourself simple? If so, how? Would you have rules? If so, what rules?


Now, if you are thinking, “this guy’s an idiot, I’m not spending any more of my time coalescing my thoughts on this crap”, I assure you that I understand – no worries! But, if this idea intrigues you, have a go at it. I think it might be therapeutic and maybe even fun. I look forward to your considered responses!

31 comments:

Angela said...

I would say control yourself before you seek to control others.

Do no tell others what I want from them when you, yourself do not know.

I gave you life, now LIVE IT!

redtail said...

I would say, aside from the whole assinine hell concept, the thing that bugged me the most was the whole man being the head of woman concept. That just pissed me right off no matter how I tried to reconcile it. So of course, that one felt good to get rid of.

If I were the creator of all things I would think Id want to have interaction with said things. And I mean REAL interaction and communication. There would be no need for faith.

Bill said...

To sum it up the most complicated issues of the God/Jesus religion are unconditional love and Hell coexisting as well as free will and God's will coexisting.

These two concepts alone made me realzie the Christian religion was bullshit.

If I were God for a day I would show myself and fuck up all the assholes who preached inntorrence in my name. I would make the racists and homophopes have all have a gay sex orgy for a week, and all the kind and decent torrerant folks would be treated to a never ending Hawiian vacation with an unlimited sex drive and sexual partners. How's that?

xrayman

Caleb said...

Bill said;
"To sum it up the most complicated issues of the God/Jesus religion are unconditional love and Hell coexisting as well as free will and God's will coexisting.
These two concepts alone made me realzie the Christian religion was bullshit."

Yeah, me too! I Corinithians 13 talks about all of the things love is. The two that stick out are that it is not jealous, and keeps no record of wrong. If this is true, and God is Love like the bible also says. Then, how could god ever judge us or send anyone to hell?

San Francisco Atheist said...

One of many things that has always confused me about the Bible is the need or requirement for Prayer. If God is this omnipotent, all knowing entity, then surely He must know what will happen in the future. So, when Christians pray aren't they asking God to change His mind? Isn't prayer a request for God not do His will, but do the will of those praying.
SF Atheist.

Telmi said...

[a] The concept of Hell and eternal punishment
[b] This concept can in no way be reconciled with the concept of an all-loving, all omni-god who allegedly created Hell and eternal punishment.
[c] Expose the stupidity or irrationality of people who believe without evidence.

John, is it Ok with you if I use material [with full attribution] from your article?

Anonymous said...

Hey Telmi: Use whatever you like, it’s ok with me! I think it’s ok with the site WM too.

jfraysse said...

Hey Telmi That was ME, John Fraysse! I don't know why I ended up Anonymous - Operator error I suspect - sorry! Use whatever you like!

jfraysse said...

Great inputs!

Angela: Eloquent, simple and profound! I love it!

Redtail: Yup! It’s pretty obvious a bunch of men wrote this stuff!

Bill (xrayman): You ain’t right man, but I laughed every time I conjured the suggested images! It does seem like an appropriate punishment for those types, doesn’t it?

Caleb: Yes, what about I Corinthians 13!? Many people have this, I think, beautiful poem framed and hanging on walls and sitting on dressers. I remember being told that this was a poem about how much God loves us? Has anybody else ever been told this? In context, I don’t see it, but nevertheless, the Biblical God falls way short of this definition!

SFA: Prayer does logically seem pointless and if you take this reasoning a bit further, it could actually make God mad, right? I mean, who can or should resist God’s will, lest he wack you and throw you in Hell!

Telmi: Right! Why does an All-Loving God create, maintain and continue to populate a place of perpetual torment? Why the Hell is Hell necessary?!

Monk said...

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the absurdity that is the idea of the "Trinity." I can't even begin to explain how little sense that makes to me. Is it 3 or is it 1? Does god have multiple personality disorder? Do those personalities have the ability to have out of (god's) body experiences?

There was no one biblical logical absurdity that deconverted me...more like a cumulative effect combined with never buying into it to begin with.

If I were god for a day, I'd manifest myself VISIBLY, making myself visible in the sky the whole world over at the same time. Then I'd snap my fingers and have every holy book ever written rise into the sky and destroyed for everyone to see. Then, I'd cause to magically appear a NEW, CORRECT, INFALLIBLE holy book for every individual on earth. I would then proceed (in their native languages, of course) to read the book to the whole world. I'd finish up with a warning: "you screw things up THIS time and it's armageddon for you guys. period. no questions asked. I, the lord your god, have REALLY spoken this time." Then, I'd retreat back up to heaven, or whereever, and wait to see how bad people botch things this time.

Like all good fathers who have children that have gone astray, I'd sit and scratch my head and wonder: what did I do wrong?

jfraysse said...

Hey Monk: I agree that the Trinity is a patently strange idea. But, for me, it doesn’t make the top of my list because is it somewhat innocuous, not possessing the morally corrupt features of concepts like “Original Sin”, eternal punishment and God sanctioned, rape, murder, child abuse, slavery, sexual bigotry and racial hatred.

BTW: I love your parental analogy! How many times have I uttered the very humbling phrase, “what did I do wrong”?!

Brent S. said...

Omnipotence is the part that always bothered me the most. If a being already knows everything, then what is the point of free choice? Why let a mouse run through a maze when you already know how long it will take for him to find the cheese, and what he will do with the cheese once it is found. Also, an all-knowing God could not have been surprised by the betrayal of the devil, Adam and Eve, and therefor should have taken precautions.

Oh, and if he created EVERYTHING, how could the whole notion of evil sneak into the mix.

And since others have already mentioned sex, I would hate to be left out. What kind of a sick bastard would imbue us with a biological drive, just as strong as hunger or thirst, and then threaten us with eternal suffering for not denying that drive.

Monk said...

jfraysse,

I agree that in practical terms the trinity ranks fairly low on the list, but in terms of semantics, I think it's a jewel! It shouldn't detract from the more serious issues you've mentioned, however.

Thanks! Christians refer to god as a "father" all the time without really considering the implications. If I were still a christian, I would find the idea of god sharing the same characteristics as your average human father to be most useful in defending and explaining my faith. It would seem to work well with his evolution as shown in the bible...from a hot-tempered abusive firebrand when he was "younger" in the Old Testament to a softer, more mature, easier-going GRANDfather of sorts in the New Testament.

Good topic!

stronger now said...

A) The notion that the blood of the innocent is needed to purify the guilty.

B) I found this to be morally repugnant and illogical. Any concept this assinine HAD to be manmade.

C) If I were God I wouldn't have made anything. If I had to be God of what is already here, I wouldn't take credit for it. I'd try to shift the blame to someone else.
Then I would make sure everybody knows that I am the real deal. If I was going to impregnate someone to get my message accross I'd not use any "spirit" to do the job for me. I wouldn't impregnate a teenage girl either. I think I'd go for Pat Robertson.(that'll teach 'em)
Not just once but every day in each persons life I'd pop in to give them a one on one status report on what I'm doing to make their lives better. I'd also explain, in clear detail, what I expect from each individual and give them options that would be suitable to me and them. And that's just for starters!

Spirula said...

Well, the trinity thing and "free will" already were mentioned. I would add that the existence of evil and a good and holy god who is both omniscient and omnipotent is impossible.

Now throw in the concept of Satan and you have all kinds of trouble defending the "goodness" of god and his omnipotence.

Then there is the whole "communication" problem that is alluded to by the post.

Elizabeth said...

"In your opinion, what are the most repugnant or complicated Christian/Biblical concepts?"
"How did these impact your conversion and/or de-conversion?"

For me, it was the idea that God created some people who are unable to believe, or "follow", and being God he would know this. The idea that many are called, but few are chosen. (Matthew 22:14) And since these were Jesus' words, I couldn't just toss them away as easily as words from the Old Testament.

It didn't seem fair that a God would then punish these people for eternity.

Even before I deconverted, I felt that a God like that wasn't worthy of worship.

Billster said...

Monks said, ""If I were god for a day, I'd manifest myself VISIBLY, making myself visible in the sky the whole world over at the same time. ""

ooooh, he said he would, at the end of time when he will then smote your ass.. ! and then it will be too late, no second chances. So once the evidence is made visible, you will be burning in hell, thirsting for a drink, anguishing for a hug, craving a Coors Light, anticipating relief, hoping for the end, but no, no, no. you will be wailing and gnashing your teeth and making everybody on the Lord's side crack up laughing.... When, when O Lord will we get to watch you revenge those unbelieving "thinkers". Yes, revenge the blood of the saints by torturing Joe Smoe from Dubois, PA. ! Yes, thank you Jesus ! Lord of the Good Guys.

sconnor said...

The most difficult concept for me is the concept of God sacrificing Jesus to save us. First off, evidently God so loved the world that he would let his son be tortured, humiliated, scoffed at, and crucified on a cross to save us. The questions I have are,
1. If God is Jesus and Jesus was God, did they both die on the cross?
2. How does dying on the cross take away the sins of the world, is it symbolic or supernatural?
3. If it was a true sacrifice, wouldn't that mean you can't get it back?
4. Couldn't God have, just taken away the sins of the world?
5. Would you let one of your children go through agonizing torture and being crucified only to save a select few?
6. Most Christians give the analogy of a solider throwing himself on a grenade to save the platoon. That would mean his father through him on the grenade to save the platoon, which would earn the Father a court marshal, if the platoon didn't kill him first for displaying such a disgusting and cowardly act. Or, it would mean the solider would have to be a Deity throwing himself on the grenade, sacrificing Himself and the solider. The grenade would symbolize the sins of the world and the platoon couldn't really be saved, unless they truly believed in this Deity/solider. Come on! It's all blatherskite! It makes me nuts!
None of it makes any sense and when I talk to clergy or Christians about it, they use bogus pat answers or they talk in circles. It's ludicrous, nonsensical and just plain wrong!

jfraysse said...

I will offer my #1 beef: It is the demonstratively “Evil Nature” of the Biblical God. For me, this is the foundation from which all other morally reprehensible “Biblical Principles” spring. Thomas Jefferson referred to the Biblical God as a “Three-Headed Tyrant”. I couldn’t agree more. My de-conversion distills down to this very basic, even primal issue. I can not and will not honor anyone, be they gods of mere mortals, with such vile affections.

Anonymous said...

The most difficult biblical concepts for me were the idea that God in all his goodness, love and mercy, would rather answer the selfish and mostly insignificant prayers, such as blessing the ladies bakesale so it is a success and they can buy the new choir robes, or holding off the rain until after the sunday school picnic, etc., of Christians who already have way more than they need;
while at the same time turning a blind eye and a deaf ear on the desperate cries of millions of people daily throughout this world, children and babies alike, who don't have even the bare essentiald necessary to survive such as clean drinking water and enough food, allowing them to suffer in extreme agony and even die from horrible, yet easily preventable, diseases as well as malnutrition and dehydration.

Joe B said...

In your opinion, what are the most repugnant or complicated Christian/Biblical concepts?
God gives faith, but people are on the hook for getting it. Those that don't get it go to hell for eternity.

How did these impact your conversion and/or de-conversion?
I didn't have it. God wasn't giving it. Try as I might, I didn't believe and felt quietly ashamed and inadequate for not having it. I aped it so that I wouldn't "cause others to stumble" while I sorted it out. After 20 years or so it became evident that it wasn't going to happen.

If you were “God-for-a-Day”, how would you act toward your creation? Would you make the knowledge of yourself simple? If so, how? Would you have rules? If so, what rules?
More columns of smoke and fire; just like the old days. More importantly, if my people were out fighting in my name, I'd go out in front and blast a couple of the bad guys in broad daylight. That way, only a couple of people would get killed and the rest would say, "Dude, like it or not, this guy's god. What ever he wants just fucking do it so we don't end up in hell." In other words, if I was an evil overlord, I'd let people know the deal. But, then again, if I was such an evil overlord, maybe I'd do just what the bible-god does. Make 'em wonder so they'd kill, manipulate and abuse each other endlessly for my amusement. Such choices. Glad this is just a hypothetical question.

Billybee said...

For me, the worst Christian meme out there is when they believe that "Everything happens for a reason / It's all part of God's plan..."
I would try (as a believer)to understand and 'trust' this nonsensical concept. Talk about frustrating!!!
"Let go and let God".....What the hell is THAT suppose to mean?!
The worst part was trying to comunicate my confusion to some doe-eyed, head cocked and bobbing believer that would judge me for being so "unspiritual" and "weak-minded".
"Just pray about it..seek the Looord..."
Yeah, well....Seek THIS !

Spirula said...

mostly insignificant prayers

As someone who lives in the South, when I read that I immediately thought "high school football".

twincats said...

I was churched from a very early age and internalized all the crap pretty thoroughly except for one thing. I got “love your neighbor as yourself” as it was pretty straightforward. Even around age six or so, I understood this to mean that we love our neighbors as they are, not as we would like them to be.

So far, so good.

But then, a little later, they started in on the whole “fishers of men” thing in Sunday school; we were supposed to bring our friends and neighbors to Sunday school and church with us so that they could learn the right way to serve the LORD (which in my world was Lutheran, by the way.)

Even at six, I couldn’t understand how it was “loving” to try to change someone you were supposed to love the way they are! Besides, most of the kids in my neighborhood were either Catholic or Jewish and seemed pretty happy with what they believed.

So well indoctrinated was I that this tiny seed of dissonance didn’t sprout until I hit my thirties. Now I know how blind I was to the much bigger contradictions the bible holds, but that was the one tiny thing that I never accepted!

So, I guess if I were god, I’d make up my goddam mind!

jfraysse said...

All: Very good and points, even the funny ones – Super!

TwinCats: Yes, God, please make up your mind! Indeed! Well said! And you hit on one of my top 3 – “Fishers of Men”! Yes, what about “The Great Commission” ? (Matt 28:18-20, Luke 24:44-47, Acts 1:8) Most of the Fundys that frequent this site, do so with the strong belief that “God is on their Side”. They believe this because God has commanded his “Christian Soldiers” to evangelize the Whole World. To them, they are fulfilling the Great Commission and scoring brownie points in the afterlife with the Almighty! They might even get to park in the “Soul-Winner-of-the-Month” parking slot at their church!

In his song “Imagine” John Lennon ponders about a world without the force of religion. So, how about this? What if Christianity (and Islam), had no mandate to conquer the World for God?

The root of the word “Evangelism” literally means to bring a “welcome message” or it could also be rendered to bring “good news”. Isaiah 52:7 is many times quoted: “ How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news….” I think the verse is beautiful, unfortunately history has proven that the “feet” of many past “world evangelists” are anything but beautiful as they are ankle-deep, if not neck-deep, in human blood.

In many countries today, external evangelism is both feared and unwelcomed. In some places it is outright illegal. It is a road block to mutual respect, the understanding of disparate cultures and the sharing of ideas. It also impedes cooperation and actually discourages tolerance.

How much more peaceful might our world have been if the “Great Commission” had never appeared in the NT writings? How much more stable could it be in the future if we (at least in the US) refused to export it? Most of the targeted nations are third-world and are already superstitious. I see no point in swapping one superstitious belief system for a different one, especially when it is foreign to the indigenous culture.

jfraysse said...

Not that it really matters, but here are my answers to my own questions:

a.) What are the most repugnant or complicated Christian/Biblical concepts?

1. The revealed Evil Nature of the Biblical God, which to me, is rooted in required appeasement or sacrifice.

2. God’s Exclusive Revelation to a “Chosen People”

3. The “Mission” to Evangelize the World with the Biblical God’s “Turn or Burn - Good News” (Ultimately Important, overly difficult to acheive, failure is catastrophic to the unreached and/or unsure)

b.) How did these impact your conversion and/or de-conversion?

My conscious, tells me that I should not honor anyone, especially a “god”, that thinks, speaks or acts in an evil fashion and then hypocritically violates its own rules. Since the actions of the Biblical god span the gauntlet of human emotions and evil deeds, the origins of “this god” are best explained as man-made. Every “god inspired” evil action, dogma or command flows down stream from this explanation.

c.) If you were “God-for-a-Day”, how would you act toward your creation? Would you make the knowledge of yourself simple? If so, how? Would you have rules? If so, what rules?

• I , god, am all-powerful and all-good. Knowledge of me (god) would be simple and undeniable to all humans as I would communicate the knowledge of my will to every individual at all times.
• Damaging pain and suffering would only result from Evil-on-Evil conflict. I, god, would always protect the righteous, innocent or ignorant from Evil and also accidents and natural disasters.
• Every Human will be responsible for their own actions and have an “expiration date”. If you are not evil, you will be allowed to renew your existing life (“Life Spot”) in whatever stage of development you wish, and/or come back in another future social setting and time. I, god, would allow forward time travel! You may also choose to go to the “Life Pool” where I, god, will decide how to recycle your Life Spot.
• I, god, would decide how many “Life Spots” can be supported on my planets.
• I, god, love science and will never punish Humans for exploring or asking questions as long as they are not doing so to commit Evil. I, god, welcome suggestions but will make the ultimate decisions, after all, I am god, right?
• Humans will have Free Will. They may choose to commit Evil, but Evil would only be allowed to harm Evil in kind (ex: rapist could themselves be raped, murders could be murdered, etc)
• Evil may repent at any time, but Evil will not be allowed to procreate. If your “heart” is continually evil (non-repentant), depending on what you are doing, I, god, may snuff you out myself. When you are killed or expire, if your “heart” remains continually evil, your “Life Spot” will go back to my “Life Pool” and all memory of your Evil will be erased.
• Parents who want children will be blessed with them from my Life Pool.
• Parents don’t have to get married but will be held accountable by me (god) for evil or lack of support and proper training of their children.
• All humans would stop “maturing” physically at 25 in peak physical condition.
• Non-Human Life (plant and animal) would not require the destruction of other life in my creation, I , god, will feed them and control their eco-system.
• I, god, will not allow any diseases or pests thingys
• I , god, will not allow physicists to conjure up more that 4 dimensions to explain the cosmos and will make most of them give back their PhD’s
• I, god, will allow Pets but they will never stain your carpets or eat the newspaper
• All good guys would have the SAME size penis (Ron Jeremy is the standard)
• No erectile dysfunction or pre-mature ej’s for good guys. Evil Guys? Oh well…..
• Women will have real orgasms, but no periods and will get to look like their favorite celebrity if they want
• Having babies won’t hurt and you will go back to your “movie star good looks” the next day without any Postpartum Depression
• Everyone who wants one can have a boat, a car and an airplane of their choosing that runs on Di-Lithium crystals so they wouldn’t pollute the water or air!
• Toilette paper racks will never run out!
• Women will be able to run their vehicles on “empty” and ignore regular maintenance schedules without consequences. Guys? Oh well…
• Rock Concerts, NASCAR races and NFL football games will never sell out!
• All Humans will be able to eat donuts, ice cream and other junk food and not get fat! I might allow “how you treat your body” to affect how long you live before expiration – I’ll have to think more about this one!
• And the list goes on…

What would you do, if you were “god”?

stronger now said...

Those all sound good jfraysse, here's a few more:

*I would make women and men able to control their fertility by their own will. Leaving no room for chance or misshap pregnancies.

*I would also give men the ability to have multiple orgasms.

*All humans would have the ability to regrow lost limbs, brain & nerve tissue, ect... ect...

*Newborn babies would be virtually indestructable, but would outgrow this, gradually.

*No one will be able to have an addiction to anything.

*Semen will taste like chocolate.

*The more you use something the better it gets.(example: knives will get sharper with continued use and get duller with disuse)

jfraysse said...

Hey Stronger: I like your additions! Since you and I were taught that “God” was actually 3 persons, how about you and I being “god” together? To be perfect though, we need one more sucker. I vote for Monk, since he first pointed out how ridiculous the idea of the Trinity was (grin). Or we could have a debate on the “third candidate” or we could have them on “Idol” or “Dancing with the Stars”. Wha-da-ya, think, aye?
Cheers! John

stronger now said...

I'm down with that, jfraysse. I think monk would be a fine addition, but I'll leave the final word up to you.

But I get to be the spooky weird HOLY GHOST thingy!

jfraysse said...

Just like you, Stronger, always taking the “fun” job! It’s YOURS !

And this has been interesting and fun for me. Thanks to everyone!

Here’s wishing all of you at Ex-C a Happy Thanksgiving next week!

Satan Lucifier the devil said...

Don't forget my role.

I kicked all 3 members of the trinity's asses.