Monday, March 9, 2009

Nothing Here to See

religion, religious, worship, bible, god, christian, christianity, hell, jesus, atheism, atheist, ray, comfort, lahaye, jenkins, robertson
The Slacktivist, of all people, solidified why I could never worship the god of most Christians. (This god is clearly not the Slacktivist's god, but he is a very popular god indeed.)

The Slacktivist recently wrote two posts on the Christian hell, here and here. You must- let me repeat that- must read them if you haven't already. The first post deals with Christianity's conflation of the bible, which only mentions hell three times in passing, and Dante's Inferno. The second post deals with the basic unethical, immoral, unfairness of hell as popularly imagined.

The Slacktivist disproves the popular notion of hell using Hitler. Yes, Hitler. It's really quite amazing.

There are plenty of unseemly or even reprehensible reasons why someone might choose to believe in an eternal Hell, and we needn't spend much time on those. But there are also some better, more reasonable and nobler reasons. Such as the Hitler question.
. . .

Whatever miserable end befalls a Hitler or an Amin or Stalin or Saddam Hussein in this world it still seems, somehow, inadequate. Those responsible for the suffering and death of millions can only suffer and die once themselves, and this seems disproportionate. It seems unfair. It is unfair.

For that unfairness, that injustice, to be addressed or redressed, it seems there needs to be some further accounting for such evils. Hell, or something like it, seems necessary then for the Hitlers of this world.

. . .

The eternal aspect of this idea of Hell is also troublesome. Part of the trouble here, as ever when we talk of "eternity," is that we tend to think of it in terms of "forever" or "a very long time" -- roughly the same mistake as thinking of "infinity" as meaning "a really big number." But it's also the case, as many have argued, that it seems unfair and unjust that temporal, finite wrongdoing would be consigned to an eternal, infinite punishment.

. . .

That last bit has bothered me since the first grade (my first grade teacher was a nun with an interest in hell that was positively unseemly for a Catholic). More than that though, this post set me on the path to a thought that was so basic, so true, so compelling that I actually stopped what I was doing and just stared, stunned by how far into the depths of my own psyche I had accidentally reached.

Even if it were proven to me, beyond any doubt, that the god of Ray Comfort and Pat Robertson and LaHaye and Jenkins were real, I could not* worship him.

To clarify, if the god that the Slacktivist worships were proven to me, beyond any doubt, I would gladly worship. God, as the Slacktivist portrays him, is kind and generous, a deity who wishes us to help the poor, comfort the suffering and give companionship to the lonely. I could get behind that. I do all those things without god, so a deity like that fits right in with my morality.

Ray Comfort's god does not. His is a god of fire and brimstone, a god of eternal, fiery punishment for the most minor of infractions, a god who will happily torment Ghandi forever for the terrible sin of not saying the magic words.

If this doesn't bother you, it really should. Even the suffering Hitler caused was finite. It will end, at some point. Infinite torment for finite crimes is entirely out of proportion. It would be like imprisoning someone for life for stealing a penny. It would be like that, times forever.

That's insane. That's psycopathy on a level no one could match.

I could not worship such a god.

Just to be clear, worship is defined as reverent honor and homage paid to God or a sacred personage, or to any object regarded as sacred and to feel an adoring reverence or regard for

I could not give "revent honor or homage" to Ray Comfort's god any more than I could "feel an adoring revernce or regard" for Hitler himself. I simply could not.

I could pretend. I could say the words, and attend a church and lie and lie and lie, but I could not worship such a god. A truly omniscient god would know this. Every gesture, every word would be a lie. My sin in lacking reverent homage would only be compounded by the sin of lying.

What loving god creates a system wherein a person capable of mercy and pity is the person most likely to suffer infinitely?

What kind of people not only throw themselves into worshipping such a god, but believe that, and only that, to be justice?

*"Could not" in the same way I could not fly or I could not breathe water.


  1. i have to say -

    good for you. i too would refuse to worhip a tyrant like the one Raybaby espouses (but note how HE is not going to hell, however many rules he breaks. i sometimes think that these people don't really believe at ALL, but they all lie about it for the power trip)

    no, really... if all it takes for evil to breed is good people not standing against evil (thereby making them COMPLICIT in evil, even if they are not themselves evil) then the very definition of "good" MUST contain something about standing AGAINST evil. not permitting it, as much as you can. and, gods above, not ENCOURAGING IT WITH WORSHIP!!!

    so. yeah. you are my hero(ine)

  2. Liars for Christ(tm) are outside the rules, you see. Yeah, I don't get it either.


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