Monday, August 30, 2010

Do Christians Really Believe?

Something that always has bothered me about Christians is that they say they believe in The Bible, but then their actions contradict that assertion time and again. A column over at the Huffington Post recently addressed just this issue, so I figured it was high time that I addressed it here, as well.

Then Why Don't You Kill Yourself?

As a lead-in to this topic, I give you a video clip wherein Bill Maher backed a Christian (actually, a Jew for Jesus) into a corner in his excellent documentary Religulous:

The point is that if there's an eternally blissful afterlife, why does any Christian fear death in the slightest? Maher may have gone a bit far asking, "[If Heaven is a better place], then why don't you kill yourself?" Christians can jump on that question with the fact that suicide is a sin that would prevent you from going to Heaven. OK, I'll accept that, but the fundamental point remains: Life on Earth is pointless and death should be celebrated, not mourned.

Think about it, if you're a Christian and you truly believe that you're going to have an eternity in blissful perfection as soon as you die: 1) Wouldn't your impending death be like an upcoming trip to some sort of Disneyland times 1,000,000? 2) Wouldn't your life be an agonizing act of tedium while you await your trip to Super Disneyland? Seriously, the wait would be just horrible. I'd smoke 12 packs of cigarettes a day, lay out in the sun all day every day, and drink alcohol every waking moment trying to collect cancers and destroy my liver. It wouldn't technically count as suicide, and you'd be getting to Heaven that much more quickly.

And when your favorite loved-ones keel over, why in the holy Hell would you be even momentarily sad? As soon as granny kicks the bucket, there should be fanfares (and not just because of the reading of her will) and crying (the joyous kind, not the sad kind).

You should be calling relatives out of breath, excitedly recounting the circumstances of Grandma's death:

"Yeah, she just fell head-first down the stairs! Bonk, smush, dead! I know, it's incredible! I took a keepsake picture of the aftermath to place on her coffin. I was going to call an ambulance, but I didn't want to risk her surviving -- quick thinking on my part, right? She lived a long life, and everyone was starting to worry that she'd just keep on going, but whew for that staircase, huh? Yay, Heaven! Praise the Lord!"

Do you know why Christians fear death? Do you know why they hold funerals to mourn the loss of loved ones? Because they don't fucking believe in Heaven, that's why. If any part of them believes in Heaven, a larger part of them realizes that it's just wishful thinking.

When you're dead, you're dead. Stop living life with an eye to the afterlife and start living life as if this is the only thing you've got -- because it is. Go start collecting amazing experiences, go take chances, go make yourself and other people happy. Stop worrying about pointless shit, stop worrying about death, and for God's sake, stop devoting time to an imaginary friend in the sky, time that could be better used making your Earthly existence exciting and worthwhile.

To Hell With You!

On the flip side of the coin is Hell. Descriptions of Hell make it sound pretty damn horrible, and spending an eternity there would be -- by definition -- a pretty damn long time. So, what can get you sent to this place of neverending sorrow, darkness, torment, fire and brimstone, hopelessness, and unsatisfied desires? Well ... basically everything, as it turns out. There's a great document on Scribd that details 667 of the sins in The Bible, but even that number can't be accurate. One big reason why it's necessarily inaccurate is that many things that are claimed to be sins in one area of The Bible are contradicted in another section. Basically, every single day of your life you likely commit many sins.

So the problem arises in that if you're truly a God-fearing person who thinks Hell is a real place where you could end up one day for sinning, nothing about the way you live your life makes sense. You should be walking on egg shells every day, planning everything you do meticulously and only speaking off of a pre-written script to ensure that you don't sin. Heck, you probably never should leave your house.

Why would you be so extreme? Well, if you sinned and then got hit by a bus before you could repent, you'd be in Hell for eternity. Or if you decide to people-watch, accidentally covet a passerby's wife, and then get stabbed by a mugger -- bam, straight to Hell. You'd surely never take the Lord's name in vain while driving, on the off chance that you did and then got into a car accident that killed you, zipping you off to Hell. All of that should scare the living crap out of you. Seriously, it's not worth committing even the most minor sin (like wearing polyester -- yes, that's a sin).

If you truly believed in a God who could (and would) send you to eternal Hell for committing sins (getting tattoos, smoking, premarital sex, seeking riches, being proud, and so on), would you risk committing any of them for even a single second? Wouldn't you have memorized all of the things you could do to piss off God and then spend every waking second frantically avoiding doing any of them until you finally (thank God) die and get sent to Heaven instead of Hell? This is a big freakin' deal. This is sacrificing your relatively insignificant lifetime on Earth to 100% ensure you get the eternal afterlife you want. If you truly believed what you say you do, you'd be insanely OCD about The Bible.


Fundamentalist Christians also give themselves away as not truly being believers in that they don't follow the very explicit teachings of Christ. I covered this in my blog about why Christians aren't Christ-like, but it deserves mention in this entry, as well. Fundamentalist Christians are, by and large, conservatives, and some of the foundational ideals of Christian-backed conservativism are anti-gay laws, anti-abortion laws, and pro-family laws. The trouble here is that Jesus never once mentioned homosexuality or abortion in The Bible. However, Jesus was particularly anti-family.

Let me cite just a few examples:
  • "If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple." (Luke 14:26)
  • "For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." (Matthew 10:35-37)
  • Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. "Who is my mother?" When Jesus' mother and brothers want to see him, Jesus asks, " Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?" (Matthew 12:47-48)
So, Jesus is anti-family and doesn't care enough about gays or abortion to mention them at all. Sounds about right for the GOP ticket so far, huh? It gets even better -- Jesus was a socialist. He very explicitly said -- numerous times -- that his followers should give everything they have to the poor, loan money without ever seeking repayment, and shed their worldly possessions. He also preached against being rich, saying wealth makes it harder to get into Heaven.

So, if Christians truly believed in The Bible, they'd be ... well, they'd be liberals -- extreme liberals. I'm a left-leaning atheist, and I wouldn't ever think of going as far as Jesus told his followers to go.

Believers Don't Believe

There are just tons of examples I could give as to why it's obvious that even so-called believers don't believe. It's actually plainly obvious that they don't, yet they don't even realize it themselves. If the faithful took a good look at their daily actions and how certain things made them feel (like death), they'd have to come to terms with the fact that they simply don't their religion seriously.

-- The Atheist Apologist --


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