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Entry 9 – Goodness, God, why so bad?

October 12, 2009

I’m sure it’s a tired question but, what kind of a supernatural being creates something like a human with “choice”, and then, if same said human makes the wrong choice (ie. does not ‘believe’ in said supernatural being) sends this creation into an unquenchable fire to be burned forever and ever? Is this really the kind of supernatural being you want your children to be praying to each and every night before they go to bed? Is this really even the kind that an adult should be praying to?

In my feeble human brain, I can see maybe 20 years of solitary confinement combined with waterboarding Wednesdays for really bad people. Maybe for the most egregious, all of the above plus Thirsty Thursdays, where all day long you are like the rich man in Jesus’ parable of the same name (see Luke 16:19-31) begging for just a drop of water to wet your extremely dry mouth. But eternal torment by burning? Key word here is ‘eternal’. Eternal burning. Ad infinitum burning. Long, long, long time burning. Eternal.

How horrible do you have to be to condemn someone to burn forever? Key word here is ‘forever’. No let up burning. No mercy burning. No end burning. Forever. I’m going to stick my neck out there and say pretty horrible! Even more so, if this supernatural being is “our Father” as the Christian and Jewish Religious Texts tell us so, how could a Father do that to his own child?! Seriously, how could he do it?! I can come up with no plausible answer except that being is, in the deepest sense of the word, evil.

Which makes me think that being good to appease such a deity, as described above, is really not being good at all. Rather it’s being good out of utmost fear that you will be burned forever in a lake of fire and brimstone. Isn’t this just fire insurance against ‘The Man’. Isn’t this kind of moral practice like someone who does something nice for someone simply because they are afraid that someone may do something against them in the future. Self-preservation and self-interest, anyone? Not that self-preservation and self-interest is a bad thing. It more often than not is a good thing. I simply am trying to get at the essense of what is motivating followers of the Christian and Jewish scriptures to be good and moral. I think we should be allowed to call this out as easily as it is for the religious to make ridiculous statements that agnostics and atheists are amoral, hedonistic, and not worthy of U.S. Citizenship (see George H.W. Bush’s statements on this during his vice-presidency).

Just a quick little aside, the temperature of that brimstone lake where all bad people are thrown after they die (see Entries 7 and 8 for places where the Christian scriptures key in on this) is at least 396 degrees Farenheit (200 degrees Celsius). How do I know that? Well, in order to have molten elemental sulphur (i.e. brimstone), you must reach a temperature of at least 200 degrees celsius. I should definitely think God could burn a tremendous amount of human flesh at such temperatures.

I certainly spent a large portion of my childhood thinking about an eternity in Hell due to unconfessed sins; a cheating glance on a spelling exam, lying to my parents, being mean to my sister, to name just a handful. All of these unconfessed sins qualified for a ‘Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect Eternal Life’ card. Now, however, as an adult, I refuse to accept what is spouted by this supernatural bully telling me that I better be good or I’m as good as Satan’s barbeque. I have let go of such horrid fears, and chosen a different path. No, it’s not hedonism. Nor is it any New Age spirituality that lets one conceive of the supernatural anyway one sees fit. No, rather, its a reality-based outlook on life, grounded in the natural world, where I make a concious choice each and every day to be good simply because I don’t think there’s really any other way for us all to survive as human beings.

Morality, as I humbly see it, is a survival mechanism for our species and a number of others on the planet. Morality comes from simply being alive; living amongst other living beings, seeing other beings’ needs, and doing your best to help with those needs. That is in my humble estimation the essence of being good. You see a problem, solve said problem. Be good. No sacred book needed. No grand pronouncements from prophets with divine revelation. No more ‘sin smackdowns’.

We humans are FULLY capable to know how to live our lives best. We have brains and we can reason. We can choose to be good today or we can choose to be bad. Good happens on a daily basis everywhere on this planet; people waking up, rolling up their sleeves, and trying to make the world a better place simply because the alternative is much worse. Visit Doctors without Borders, Amnesty International, the Red Cross, and the United Way websites if you don’t believe me. Of course, the opposite occurs as well. People operating out of ignorance and fear torturing defenseless animals, fellow human beings, committing sensless acts of violence against children, you name it, it has been and is being done. Read or watch any news feeds coming out of war torn areas like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan if you don’t believe me. We all must work for more of the good to occur, and an elimination of the bad. We all need each other to achieve a more perfect union in this country and in the world.

For next time, I’d like to get into more of the meaning of life as a recovering Christian.

Until next time, thanks for stopping by.

TRC
the.recovering.christian@gmail.com

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2009 11:55 pm

    Great post, RC. I had heard of a theory that humans would be given an asbestosis body after death so that they could suffer even greater torment in hell . Great theory, huh? Makes me all tingly inside.

  2. Linda permalink
    December 17, 2009 6:41 pm

    I’m amazed… like i’ve said… exactly the same thoughts.

  3. Bear permalink
    February 16, 2011 5:32 pm

    God is very simple. People wanted an explanation for things so they made one up. This is nothing new, most cultures have myths to explain why the sky is blue, what happens after we die, how fish can breathe underwater.

    Heaven is simple. It is just a creation of the very best place anyone can imagine.

    Hell is simple. It is just a story about the very worst place anyone can imagine.

    A common theme about death myths: you will be rewarded or punished after death depending on your actions.

    • Anonymous permalink*
      February 20, 2011 9:33 pm

      Again, well said, like your comment on Entry 8. Very succinct, to the point, and incredibly logical. Love it!

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