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Monthly Archives: February 2013

God is cruel: an argument from creation

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Romans 1:20 was a verse I had to memorise in high school. I’m afraid I had to look it up to use it for this post. Memory verses were usually only effective on me if they had a song to go with them. Anyway, it’s a verse Christians often use to justify God sending people to Hell. The wonder of creation means that no one has an excuse for not believing in God. His character and power are evident in nature:

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

Righto then, lets examine creation, and thereby discover God’s invisible qualities, etc.

I can’t deny that nature is beautiful. I look into a starry sky or see a cute wallaby or a pretty mountain and I feel emotion. I feel beauty. I feel tiny and insignificant. I struggle with the idea there is no intelligence behind it. Grace, love, unity, are all possible feelings that go with this. These may be attributed to God, if you’re into that shit.

But I can’t ignore the harsher side of nature, the fact that it’s a fight for survival. Stephen Fry has nailed this:

“I love how people watch David Attenborough, Discovery Chanel type thing where you see the absolute, phenomenal, majestic complexity and bewildering beauty of nature and you stare at it, and then somebody next to you goes: “[wags finger] And how can you say there’s no God? Look at that.” And then five minutes later you’re looking at the life cycle of a parasitic worm, whose job is to bury itself in the eyeball of a little lamb and eat the eyeball from the inside while the lamb dies in horrible agony. Then I say “Where is your God now?” You can’t just say there’s a God because the world is beautiful. You have to account for bone cancer in children. You have to account for the fact that almost all animals in the wild live under stress, with not enough to eat, and will die violent and bloody deaths. There is not any way that you can just choose the nice bits, and say that means there is a God and ignore the true fact of what nature is. The wonder of nature must be taken in it’s totality.”

Nature is about survival of the fittest, it’s about competition and fighting to the death. It’s about the lion ripping the zebra to shreds. It’s about wolves stealing the bunny-rabbit’s babies for dinner. If “creation” is meant to be showing God’s character as Romans 1:20 says, then God really is capricious, cruel, and sadistic. There is no love in the wild. No grace. No mercy. Therefore God cannot have these qualities if Romans 1:20 is true. So Christians, do not quote that verse at me and pretend it supports your case, you’re really just confirming my own view. It gives me a pretty good excuse not to believe.

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LOL Moses!

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(Just for fun!)

Missionaries preying on the poor

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A couple of years ago, my parents sent me to Cambodia on a missions trip during my Summer holidays. I think the main reason they paid for me to go was because they knew I would get crazy bored at home and they wanted to keep me out of trouble. Anyway, I was beyond excited and so thankful to them for allowing me to go. It ended up being quite a mixed experience.

I set off, ready to eradicate poverty and change the world. I went with a couple of (middle aged) ladies from my church, which wasn’t ideal for my sixteen year old self. I had to pray and go to church during my time over there. I had to sing songs about Jesus with the kids. I didn’t feel great about that. I wished my parents would have put the money towards a secular volunteering trip with World Vision or something like that, but I was lucky they were giving me this opportunity, I wasn’t going to complain.

So anyway, we went over there and did our thing. We handed out meals to people in the slums despite the fact that the food would barely last a day, tomorrow they would be hungry again. I washed head-lice out of kid’s hair, knowing that the process for getting rid of lice is not as simple as one wash. I even gave slum women manicures, cause that’s totally important when you’re scrounging for food in a garbage dump all day. After watching a preacher tell the Good News to a group of slum dwellers and seeing them rapidly converted, I realised that this trip was not about helping people overcome poverty, but about doing nice things for them so that they would listen to us when we tried to convert them. I really should have suspected something when I saw that our trip slogan was (something like): “We can’t change the world, but we can show His love.” I was really disappointed that I was not helping change people’s lives.

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I had been given some money to spend on helping these people. Our team leader asked me to put it towards a trip a water park for the slum kids. I said no. I wanted to actually help people have better lives. A sustainable, healthy, progressive standard of living. The team leader said to me: “These kids would never get a chance to do anything like this! It could be the best day of their lives.” Nope. I will not spend money on this when many of them won’t have any food to come home to, or enough money to pay for high school. I want the best day of lives to be their university graduation or their wedding day. I want them to grow old and reach their full potentials. The notion that a day at the pool could be the best day of their lives is precisely why I could not give my money to that.

I wonder how much money of Christian missionaries is wasted on “showing them Jesus’s love” rather than combatting poverty. So much effort is put into manipulating these people so that they will be receptive to the gospel. It felt like we were farmers, fattening up our pigs so that they would be ready when the time came for the kill. It seems to be nothing more than the manipulation of the poor and uneducated. So I’m not a big fan of this type of Christian mission.

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Salvation By Grace Vs. Morality

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Safe Among The Heathen

Kirk Cameron may not have had a lot of credibility before this video, but he sure doesn’t have any now. I know that some Christians are irrational and delusional in their belief, but this guy took it a step too far. He obviously didn’t think this theory through. Somewhere in the world, there is a Christian panicking because their banana did not come with a “pull tab” and wondering what does it all mean? Here’s hoping Kirk Cameron is the only one gullible enough to swallow this cupful of crazy.

I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like an absolute genius after watching this.

Cheers and Happy Fat Tuesday!

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Unjust as Hell

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The concept of Hell is one of the most sickening aspects of Christianity. It is closely linked to another sickening aspect: salvation by grace alone.

Let me explain how this works. If you have been to church enough times to understand it, skip down a couple of paragraphs.

Our sins separate us from God. Jesus’s death paid for our sins, so now we can be with God: Romans 6:23 (NIV) “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ of Lord.” Unless, we don’t accept Jesus. Then we go to Hell and burn forever: Matthew 13:50 (ESV) “And throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

It doesn’t matter what we do, good works can never get us to Heaven, because we will never be good enough. Salvation is gained through Jesus paying for our sins and us asking for forgiveness and having faith: Ephesians 4:8-9 (NIV) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

I was always taught that this is what makes Christianity better than other religions. It is about a relationship, not religion (works and practices). God came and saved us, we don’t have to work our way up to him. Now, I am thinking that it makes Christianity a lot worse than other religions because it means that no matter how bad you are, you can get into Heaven, and no matter how good you are, you can still end up in Hell. Where is the justice in that?

If Hitler had accepted Jesus right before he killed himself he would have ended up in Heaven, just like the murderer on the cross next to Jesus. Mahatma Gandhi, who worked all his life for a better world and future for his people will end up in Hell because he was a Hindu. He believed in the religion of his people and country that he loved so dearly and therefore he deserves Hell. Huh?

If you can’t see the injustice here, something is wrong with your morality. This video is a great illustration:

I don’t even like the idea of my own sins being paid for by someone else. I want to take responsibility for my own actions, even if that means death or torture. I cannot allow someone else to take the punishment and pretend that it’s okay. Sure, it was very loving and kind for Jesus to die for my sins, but I can’t accept his love if he won’t give me justice.

I think that if Jesus is only going to pay for anyone’s sins, then it should not be those who believe in him, but should be those who love others most fully and who have lived lives that have contributed positively to the world. That is so much more valuable than believing the right thing!

Another problem with Hell is unfair punishment. I believe that wrongs should be paid for. But Hell is a place of eternal punishment, not proportional justice. None of us deserve to be tortured in the burning fires of Hell for eternity! Not even the most evil mass murderer rapist asshole. Maybe they deserve a hundred years of torture, but it stops somewhere. It does not go on indefinitely.

Not all Christians believe in eternal punishment of course. Many view it as eternal separation from God, which means eternal separation of love, which is effectively torture. Others are annihilists who believe nonbelievers will be destroyed. Some are universalists who believe everyone will be saved in the end. The above version of Hell, however, is widely accepted in my community and so I am addressing it. It is also the version that needs to be strongly opposed in every respect, moreso than the other, less dehumanising versions. Even if I accepted a softer view of Hell, I cannot accept Jesus paying for my own sins for which I am responsible, and I cannot accept salvation by grace alone, with no consideration for the good/bad things one has done in their lifetime.

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Dear Pope, Please Stop Raping My News Feed

Here is another post to mark the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. You’ve probably read a couple hundred of them today already, but I find Pope memes fucking amusing. So enjoy:

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