By John Frasse
When I read the Bible, I see three basic "themes" that bother me. I think these "corruptions" (my term) are best explained as being introduced by the Bible's many human authors. These same themes are later reinforced and collaborated by the Canonization Process itself as the Christian Church became an integrated part of the "New World Order," that is, the New (Christian) Roman Empire. The resulting Dogmas also influenced Bible translation endeavors over the Millennia and these core teachings persist today, largely unabated. To be clear here, my strivings are not necessarily with "God," but rather with the Canonized Bible and the Dogmas associated with it.
My three "Bones of Contention" are:
1. The concept of Exclusivity - A (single) "Chosen People" and their "Sacred Land". Don't get me wrong, I have no problems at all with the Jewish people and I love my Jewish friends but I don't think “God” has, or should have, any "chosen people."
2. The Perpetuation of the Religious Bureaucracy - Theocratic Rule v Secular Rule
a. Control of People and Governments via the "Priesthood" (Church) and God's Laws (Bible?)
b. God seems to honor the concept of quid-quo-pro. That is, people think they can manipulate God, His will, His Blessings and His Wrath if they do the "right" things.
c. God does not appear to want "Church and State" to be separated, leaving the door wide open to Religious Fascism.
d. Largely because of (c.), all scientific discoveries that are not consistent with the "Interpreted Truths of the Bible" must be wrong and are deemed the likely work of "Satan."
3. God's Nature Appears very "Man-Like" and Evil with potentially Mythical Roots
a. Just like other pagan gods, the "True God" appears to require appeasement, hence, the Sacrificial System
b. "Original Sin" and curses can be passed on to all of ones descendants
c. God commands and supports Slavery
d. Anything God does, commands or allows is "defined" as good regardless of whether or not it violates God's own precepts.
e. Success in Life is many times centered on Conquest (Holy Conquest, of course)
f. God is VERY human-like (blood-thirsty, jealous, prejudiced, changeable, capricious and unjust) and from time to time "plays" or "tempts" his best subjects (ex: Job, Jesus)
g. God seems to hate homosexuals (although he made them) and commands or allows child abuse, rape, incest and genocide.
h. God’s persona and mystical deeds have strong, non-unique parallels to more ancient pagan gods and mythological stories.
From the above, "God's Nature and Love" are extremely difficult to understand. Countless times I have heard this phrase: "we don't understand this (or that) because of our 'finite human minds.'" Well, ok, I admit that I’m not that bright and have been wrong many times, but it still seems to me that if God gave me my mind, why didn’t He either: a) give me and everyone enough gray matter to easily understand His writings or b) make His writings and His Will absolutely clear to me and the unwashed masses?
I would be hard pressed to recommend this type of "faith" to anyone, although, I have read that I must. But which of the thousands of Christian Denominations should I choose? Worse yet, most fundamentalist, evangelical groups (True Christians?) teach that I must believe and do the "right things" or else I am not a "True Christian" and, therefore, I am doomed to Hell with all the other unbelievers and just plain stupid people, like me, that can’t figure it all out.
As a consequence, the earnest truth-seeker could then reason that since the penalty for believing the "wrong things about God" is the SAME as unbelief, then, it may be just as SAFE not to have any beliefs or opinions about God. The unbeliever could then "have faith" that the "True God," if he/she/it exists, would ultimately forgive us, all of us, for the "sin" of trying to understand but ultimately failing to "properly" do so.
"To err is human, to forgive divine." — Alexander Pope, Christian English Poet (1688-1744)
What do you think?
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)