Is Choosing Not to Believe as Safe as Believing?

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?


Anonymous said...

I think you are absolutely right.

Anonymous said...

News Flash for Christians! God has stopped requiring blood sacrifices and burnt offerings of lambs and goats for your filthy sins, he stopped this about 2000 years ago.

eel_shepherd said...

The topic poster wrote:
"...My three `Bones of Contention' are:
1. The concept of Exclusivity - A (single) `Chosen People' and their `Sacred Land'..."

Quite so. This will never do. And it's not like this idea actually _is_ peculiar to a given people. The Nazis believed that Northern Europe was about the right size, lebensraum-wise, for the Nordic people; forget that there happened to be lots of other people living in it at the time; that can be dealt with, no prob. Same with the lands of the east coast of the Mediterranean; it's not as if they weren't already occupied and being worked. A well-known person (who has a few funny ideas about Jews mixed in with the sane ones) points out that the first time the Jews are mentioned in the bible, they are at war with Israel. Someone could look that up to see if it's true or not; doesn't interest me enough.

But I _would_ like to know just who the Habiru (Hebrews) _were_. Just looking at the word, it has a distinctly Sumerian look about it. Is there an alternate story, which might be the real story, about who these guys were, way back at the dawn of recorded history?

One of the posters at this messageboard, I think it's Zen, has an interesting theory (which s/he may have read from an already existing source) about who Moses really was. And it's one that makes more sense to me than the one that the bible's offering up. It gives a picture of a free Egyptian nobleman who would have been in more of a position to command a large body of people than would seem likely in a locally influential member of a slave population.

I don't know, that whole bible "history", it just doesn't have much of a ring of truth to it, even when you chuck out all the religious mumbo-jumbo. I'm not at all convinced that the supposed trekkers were "chosen" by anyone except another human being, one who could raise an army, at that.

In a different thread, I asked (seconded, actually) a self-proclaimed follower of Judaism if he believed the Jews were the "chosen people of god", and I haven't seen him since. Buggered right off out of the topic, if not, indeed, the whole messageboard. Evidently a sore point...

Anonymous said...

Jay wrote:
"News Flash for Christians! God has stopped requiring blood sacrifices and burnt offerings of lambs and goats for your filthy sins, he stopped this about 2000 years ago."
posted: 1/26/2007 1:07 AM EST

Dano asks:
So then, was Jesus the last human (Sorta), that God wanted or needed to be sacrificed to himself?

So, If I don't consider myself sinful, or in fact don't even believe in sin, especially inherited sin, God is going to understand my limited ability grasp this totally illogical, irrational, concept, and not make me fry in hell for eternity?

"Life is a Riddle, Inside a Mystery, Wrapped in an Enigma."

Dan (So many questions and so little time)

Anonymous said...

God got tired of stumbling over all those dead carcasses arriving in Heaven so he sent his only begotten son to be the ultimate and final sacrifice, so now he just has the one carcass to stumble over now.

God is so much now a Happy Camper.

Anonymous said...

eel sheperd, about the identity of the habiru:

I am not a historian--shit, I don't rememeber my birthday--but the story of the exodus is pure fiction. The tale has it that there were:

"600 thousand on the march--all men--not counting their families. People of various sorts joined them in great numbers; there were flocks, too, and herds in immense droves". (jerusalem version)

So the bible has it that an unspecified number of people; upwards of 600,000; with animals; spent 40 years in Arabia; shitting; pissing; burning animal sacrifices; burying human and animal carcasses,and there is not the slightest trace of them. Nothing. Not so much as a cinder. Not so much as a turd.

We see that the stories of the ot are legends put together by a beaten and degraded people just to make them all feel better: "We are god's chosen people; we used to be a pack of real ass-whippers, and will be again, just wait until the messiah shows up"

But where they came from is conjecture. A bunch of towel-heads with no culture; no literary tradition; no philosophical system; no works of art; no political theory, just a plundering bully of a deity and 600-plus laws about food, slaves, and concubines.

About the "war stories" of the ot: again, self-aggrandizing legends. There is no record of the jews ganging up and exterminating whole ethnic groups. If such a pugnacious people as the ancient israelites had existed, they would have been encircled and slaughtered. Alliances against them would have formed quickly.

Just happy to exchange ideas.

webmdave said...

test #2

Anonymous said...

"...To be clear here, my strivings are not necessarily with "God," but rather with the Canonized Bible and the Dogmas associated with it."

Unfortunately, your striving concerning god is, no doubt, molded and influenced by the christian ideal of god. It's very hard, if you grew up as a christian, to separate one from the other. You may have experienced god in different denominational forms, but unless you have "jumped ship" to something like buddhism or hinduism, you're going to have a hard time EVER justifying even your ideas concerning god. They are inseparable from a biblical perpective.

Even the new age ideals of a god who is "all-loving" and merciful are based on a common practice of picking and choosing scripture to buttress the belief system. It's the reason there ARE so many differing denominations...minutiae concerning dogma and's enough to make a sane person look at the whole endeavor, shake his or her head and scream "can't these people see how completely FUCKED UP this system is?!?!" lol

I am under the firm belief that if you take the "idea of god" to heart, you have to understand that your ideas did NOT form in a vacuum. And where you have the bible as your basis for your "idea of god," you have a failing proposition even before you start.

In other words, dump the idea of "striving for god" and reconciliation of that god with the bible. It makes dumping the cursed book forthwith all the more easy.


Anonymous said...

My understanding of the origins of the isrealites is that they were nomadic tribes stuck in the middle between Egypt and the northern empires of Mesopotamia, Babylon, Persia, etc.

These tribes were no match for the armies of these empires so when any of these empires decided to expand into their region, these tribes simply gave in and did business with them.

These tribes survived by becoming great bullshitters. They would listen to the various myths and legends of one nation and incorporate them into their own "history".

There came a point when none of surrounding empires were strong enough to consider expanding their empires and the assorted tribes decided to start their own empire which resulted in the kingdom of Isreal.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tigg13:

What you posted makes a lot of sense concerning the Israelis and I seem to remember reading or hearing someone offer this explanation in my distant past. Do you have a reference you can cite? If not, it’s ok, I will “Google it” later and see what I get. Have a great weekend!

Anonymous said...

Hey jfraysse.

I believe I got most of it from the Oxford Guide to Biblical History. (May not be the correct title - I can't get to my books at the moment) The rest I stitched together from other various sources that I could not possibly identify.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lee:

Ideas about “God” are older than recorded history – much older than Biblical texts. Buddhism and Hinduism pre-date Judaism, Christianity and Islam and do not involve a “personal god”. I actually read about these and other “pagan gods” and their curiously human traits in history books long before I began to study the Bible and try to understand its “God(s)”.

In my post, I did not state that I was striving FOR “God” nor attempting to reconcile the Biblical Deity. To the contrary, I made at least 13 points (and there are many more) on why the “God of the Bible” could NOT be reconciled via reason, as he doesn’t appear to be consistent even with himself. I think on these points we can agree as well as the fact that the many “religious systems” of this present day (and throughout history) are an insufferable mess.

However, I am not willing to simply eject, in wholesale fashion, the entire Bible or every aspect of the Christian Church. If you and others are, then so be it, I understand completely and would never fault you – how could I? But my experience with the Church has not been as vile as many here. I feel more heartache than anger and posting on this site is somewhat therapeutic. As a consequence, I may appear less cynical than some.

I try to glean positive lessons, if possible, from everything that happens to me. What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger, right? As of now, I am not smart enough to label everything the Christian Church does as evil, although I think “Religious Fascism” is evil and a clear and present danger in all its forms. I am also not wise enough to assert that there is no wisdom within the Bible. I try to read its pages just like I read Richard Dawkins, that is, with no predispositions and let the “wisdom find me”, if it is, indeed, there.

In all things, I attempt to apply the good, reject the bad and encourage others to do the same, consistent with their conscience and ethical model. I am, in no wise, trying to start a new religion or concept of God, but neither do I see the harm in studying the Bible “for what it’s worth”. But, if you and others think it’s not worth your time, I hardily agree with you!

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