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Steve Likes to Curse
Writing, comics and random thoughts from really a rather vulgar man
Why Christianity Gets on My Nerves 
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 | 05:46 pm [commentary, religion]
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Someone left a comment on an article I wrote a few days ago observing that certain brands of Christianity really get on my nerves. And boy howdy, ain’t that the truth! Certain brands, hell! Christianity, period, gets on my nerves.

But why? I’m not an advocate for any religion, so why should Christianity bear the brunt of my scorn, mockery, sophomoric teasing, etc.?

Well, it’s the tradition I was raised in, for one. It’s the religion I’m the most familiar with, since nearly every religious person I have ever known has identified him- or herself with this or that sect of Christianity. Familiarity has most definitely bred contempt; not of the people, but of the belief system that forces otherwise good, sensible, moral people to accept as fact things that are verifiably untrue, and to do and say preposterous (and sometimes despicable) things.

That last bit, that’s the main reason for my special animus against Christianity.

Unlike other faiths with which I am familiar, Christianity requires its adherents to enter into an immoral bargain. That this is a meaningless bargain made with an imaginary person is fortunate, but irrelevant to this discussion. The point is, to be a Christian of any stripe, you must accept that something that is blatantly immoral in several ways is the greatest thing that ever happened. This acceptance is the price of admission, both to the Christian brotherhood and, more importantly to a believer, Heaven itself.

It goes like this: To be a Christian, and to be saved from eternal damnation, you must accept that an innocent person was executed for your benefit, so that you could escape such a punishment yourself, a punishment to which you are condemned from birth, thanks to events that occurred shortly after the creation of the universe, over which you had no control and which you have no power to change.

To be a Christian, you must not only accept that this event took place, and that such a substitution of guilt is a) possible and b) just; you must also affirm that this substitutionary sacrifice was meant for you specifically. In order to claim your salvation from Hell, you must accept (or “admit,” as it is often phrased in Christian conversion prayers) that “Jesus died for you.”

Set aside for the moment the fact that guilt is non-transferable. Set aside also the fact that you cannot be guilty of the crime of which you are accused (the crime of being “fallen,” which dates back to a minor rule infraction committed thousands of years before you were born, in a fictional place, by people who never actually existed). In no way is this moral. Even if it were possible for someone to assume your guilt for a crime you committed, how is it just to allow them to do so? Certainly, it’s a nice thing to do, a selfless and compassionate act, but who but a fiend could accept such a gift?

And, the fact is, it isn’t possible for someone else to assume your guilt. Even if such a transaction were sanctioned by law (which it isn’t, and couldn’t be in any system of justice worth the paper its laws are written on), the transference of guilt from the truly guilty to the innocent would be purely ceremonial, imaginary. You have done what you have done. Your crimes are your crimes. Your choices are your choices. Nothing will ever change that. Nothing, not even God himself, could ever change that.

Christianity not only compels you to pretend otherwise, but to feel good about it. Christians are to rejoice in the loving sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The Christian doctrine of salvation is a vulgarity. There is no better word for it.

There’s a hoary old argument by Christian apologists, long since reduced to a bumper sticker, that goes something like this: “If I’m wrong and you’re right,” says the Christian to the atheist, “I’ve lost nothing. But if I’m right and you’re wrong, you’ve lost everything.”

I’m amazed this is still thought of as a compelling argument by some people. For a start, it seems to ignore the rather important fact that the atheist being addressed doesn’t think he’s wrong. He thinks the Christian is wrong, so the consequences of the Christian being right are of little interest. But more importantly, even if the Christian were right, the price of salvation should still be too high for any honest, moral person. This is a lot of big talk from someone who considers Christian myth to be just another fairy tale, but even if I knew it were true, I’d still reject Christianity.

I want no part of any system that requires people to accept something as right which they know to be wrong, imaginary consequences be damned.

Comments 
Thursday, April 29th, 2010 | 02:26 am (UTC) - post-christian view
Anonymous
I question the same things. But, at another time in my life, I might have added to the discussion in this manner.

In your post, you are separating God and Jesus. Some understand God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost to be all in one. From that perspective, there is a lot of hem hawing in the Old Testament that God does not understand what it is like to be human, to live on Earth, to feel pain and die. To that, God says, “Ok, check it out, I will take a part of me, live among you in a physical sense and die by your hands, so I don’t have to hear the whole ‘come down off your thrown’ crap anymore.” God (from his creator-king status) was kind, loving, understanding enough to not only participate in his own experiment, but also completely submit to it.

From that point of view, we can no longer justifiably whine to God about our suffering on Earth. God, in a sense, has been there, done that. The message while God was here (as Jesus) was, “Guilt and sin lead to death, if you trust in me, I’ll stick with you and I promise I’ll walk through the suckiest parts with you so you are not alone.”

The whole guilt and sin/redemption in Christ’s death is overdone. Sin was a given from the get go. God would rather we didn’t sin, but through his later life as Christ on Earth, he understands the pitfalls of a tangible world (God really didn’t seem to get how shitty life can really be- in the Old Testament) but by the New Testament, he had had so much of our belly-aching that he decided to try the whole flesh thing out for himself. You know he had to be thinking, “bunch of fucking ingrates, now I got to get myself all dirty, just to prove a point.”

The message from this contorted view of scripture: “Stop feeling guilty and/or sinful guys and stop saying I don’t understand what it’s like.” It wasn’t about taking on everyone else’s guilt, it was about mediating it, or better yet, it was about evening the score. A kind of, “There you all go, I sacrificed myself. So, shut up.”

Obviously, I’ve struggled to make sense of the crucifixion myself. The above is the best I’ve ever been able to come up with from a pro-Christianity mind-set.

Thursday, April 29th, 2010 | 03:36 pm (UTC) - Re: post-christian view
It's a pretty good argument, considering how demented the doctrine being defended is. Thanks for sharing it.

Thinking of God and Christ as the same person doesn't take away the fact that Christian salvation is based on a substitutionary sacrifice (a term I've heard Christians use themselves many times), something that can never be moral. It is wrong to allow someone else to be punished for your crimes. Who the person being punished in your place is, and how willing they are to accept your punishment is irrelevant. It is a gift that simply cannot be accepted.

And, except in legal terms (and only a barbaric and unjust society would have such a law to begin with), it's a gift that cannot be given.

Fortunately, the whole thing is imaginary. It still troubles me, though, that this system has convinced people to accept an abominable wrong as a great act of mercy.

Edited at 2010-04-29 03:37 pm (UTC)
Friday, April 30th, 2010 | 05:03 pm (UTC) - Re: post-christian view
Anonymous
I am the one who asked you that, and I really enjoy reading what you have to say about that particular bunch of people! Don't misunderstand......I have a lot of friends who are Christian, but those are people who do not try to "convert" me, and people who are not arrogant enough to believe that there is a "supreme" being out there who always sees matters terrestrial and mundane the same way they do! I really think this underlying arrogance is what annoys so many people.....I have friends from many religions, and not a single one of them has tried to convert me or insisted that my way of perceiving the universe is wrong or faulty.
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