Monday, September 30, 2013

Vicarious suffering is wrong

Vicarious suffering: performed or suffered by one person as a substitute for another or to the benefit or advantage of another

One of the most offensive and atrocious doctrines of the Christian faith is the doctrine of vicarious suffering. The above definition is derived from the Merriam Webster dictionary online and is specific to the meaning of the word vicarious but at the same time it is self-explanatory. If Christianity is true, the very act of Jesus Christ coming to earth with the specific purpose of appeasing God; which technically is himself if you subscribe to the doctrine of the trinity is appalling. 

In this post I plan to use the scriptures to put this doctrine into perspective and to turn it against the Christian faith.  According to the scriptures man was cursed by God for the sin of disobedience. Let’s be clear and concise here, when I say sin I mean it in the sense that it’s definition is anything you do to offend God. Man sinned against God and instead of forgiving him and giving him another chance he curses him and makes forgiveness impossible without requiring a blood sacrifice. But it can’t be just any blood sacrifice! It has to be a perfect sacrifice that is undefiled and unblemished (sinless). 

For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one's life. Leviticus 17:11

In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. Hebrews 9:22 

Atonement :  reparation for an offense or injury
Redemption : the act of exchanging something for money, an award, etc. 

I thought it was necessary to define the words atonement and redemption in order to put this concept of vicarious suffering into a better perspective. In the Old Testament God required that the Hebrews make various animal sacrifices to atone for individual sins and those of the people in general. For the most part the blood of rams, ox, and doves were representative of mans’ sacrifice or peace offering to God for their sins.  It appeased God but it did not redeem man from his sins permanently, in other words, it was simply a temporary fix. Certainly I would have expected more from an all knowing God! 

The sacrifice of animals as an atonement for the sins of man was first instituted by God himself in the Mosaic Law as it is outlined in the Old Testament. The book of Hebrews chapter nine describes this best in relation to the sacrifice of Jesus instead of that of animals.

8The Holy Spirit was showing by this that the way into the Most Holy Place had not yet been disclosed as long as the first tabernacle was still functioning. 9This is an illustration for the present time, indicating that the gifts and sacrifices being offered were not able to clear the conscience of the worshiper. Hebrews 9:8-9

So the author of Hebrews explains quite clearly that there was back then under the law no way of entering the Most Holy Place. This is a reference to and representative of the most sacred place in the tabernacle which was also representative of being in the very presence of the Lord himself! This description and explanation clarifies the significance of the so called rending of the veil in the temple upon the death of Christ on the cross. 

38The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Mark 15:38

That curtain stood for the separation of man from God due to his sin. In our former condition we could not stand in the presence of God because he was too holy and could not bear to look upon our sin. When Jesus allegedly gave his life and blood on the cross as a perfect sacrifice, he not only served as an atonement for sin, but also in one fell swoop managed to redeem mankind and restore the relationship between man and God. 

When John the Baptist first saw Jesus approach him he exclaimed: The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 Jesus was the final blood sacrifice that God would require from man for all time. 

12He (Christ) did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption13The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. 14How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! Hebrews 9:12-14

According to the scriptures Jesus by his suffering, death, and execution became mankinds advocate before God in heaven. He is your representative before God and through the price of his blood has paid the price and the penalty for the sins of man for all time. 

25Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. 26Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Hebrews 9:25-26

In a nutshell that is what Christianity is all about. This is what they mean when they say that we are all in need of salvation. We are being saved from God’s final judgement and subsequent condemnation of our sins that are still present unless we choose to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and savior of our lives and live according to the will of the Lord. All the other stories in the Old Testament and the N.T. are nothing but stories about morality and window dressing. 

Now on to my problem with vicarious suffering: If God is the creator of all things and all powerful as many Christians believe, then why can’t he just forgive like the rest of us? I find it quite hypocritical that he commands us to forgive those that have wronged us but he can’t do the same without requiring a blood sacrifice. This in my view puts him on the same level of all the other gods that predated the Judeo-Christian deity.

14For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

Forgive: to stop feeling anger toward (someone who has done something wrong) : to stop blaming (someone) 

Forgiving someone who has offended or wronged you in some way is simply letting go. When you forgive someone you literally are making a choice to let it go to not hold it against them any longer and let bygones be bygones. Sometimes you can forgive someone but it is best to separate yourself from them if your friendship or relationship with that person is not a healthy one. I have a brother who is a career criminal and has stolen from me numerous times but even though I have forgiven him for those previous offences he is not welcome in my home because he cannot be trusted.  The biblical deity can’t seem to do this simple action. Man sinned against him and his response was not forgiveness but curses!

Imagine that your brother murdered someone in cold blood and was caught. As a result of his actions he is then convicted to the death penalty. Would you give up your own life to save his by taking his place in the execution chamber so that he may have another chance at going straight? This type of justice is not justice at all. In fact, everyone should be personally held accountable for their own actions. But in the Bible Jesus allegedly approved of this type of action and considered it a virtue! 

13Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14You are my friends if you do what I command. John 15:13-14

I could see sacrificing your life in an attempt to save a child from a burning building, pushing a stranger out of the path of an oncoming car, or shielding someone from a hail of bullets. But dying willfully for someone else’s crimes is outright ridiculous. There is no virtue to be found in a god that can’t simply forgive without requiring someone sacrificing their lives for the offenses (sins) of others. 

Note: All biblical quotations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures. All word definitions are taken from the Merriam Webster dictionary online.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Christianity's secret to success

I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few.

Looking back on my conversion to Christianity, and also on my experiences as a believer; I have come to the conclusion that the reason that Christianity is so successful is that it appeals to the emotions. The above statement by Adolf Hitler is one of the many reasons that you can't, try as you might, appeal to reason to convince a believer about the falsity of their beliefs.

One fact that is known is that most believers did not come to theism by reason. Christianity is a religion that provides hope in a better tomorrow. It promises eternal life, joy, and the elimination of today's evils such as sickness, death, suffering, pain, etc. It tells its adherents that they will have all of these things and more, but the biggest prize of them all is that you will get to dwell in the presence of the Lord! Christianity promises what every sane person on this planet desires; the chance to live in peace, prosperity, and health.

The many authors of the Bible sought to provide hope in a time of strife, even if those hopes were false. As I said in an earlier post Christianity is a Jewish sect and its promises stem from the suffering, turmoils, and strife that the Jewish people have endured. In the Old Testament for instance there are promises of a messiah who will crush all of their enemies and bring the Hebrews back to their prestigious place as God's chosen people. When reading the scriptures you must always keep in mind the circumstances of the time period that the author was writing in.

During the time of the authorship of the N.T. the Jews were under Roman rule. They believed then as they always have that Yahweh would deliver them from their oppressors. The N.T. authors were playing off of the same themes found throughout the O.T. and used those themes as the basis for their new sectarian beliefs. Many of Jesus so called sayings are actually plagiarized from the Old Testament and ripped out of context to fit into the narrative in which it is placed.

Many Christians today believe that when they die that they will be united with lost loved ones from this life. They believe that all of the suffering, loss, hardships, injustice,pains, and heartaches of this life will be over and something that would not even be remembered when they find themselves enjoying eternal bliss. Christianity like Judaism is about the hope of a better tomorrow. Psychics and scam artists get rich off of the gullibility of the people and their same desperation to wanting something better out of life.

When I was a believer I found solace and peace in my beliefs. It helped me to know that everything happened for a purpose, that God was in control of it all and that: "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28 No matter how bad things seemed for me I had my hope and trust in God that in the end things would all work out according to his purpose.

I remember when I used to sing hyms in church or in private how they brought tears to my eyes and seemed to have a comforting and soothing effect on me. All the songs were about how unworthy I was to have God's love and forgiveness, how guilty I should have felt about the Lord's death because of my sinful ways. I was supposed to be grateful and overjoyed that God chose me to serve him and proclaim his gospel. But in my blind ambitions to serve the Lord I did not hold him accountable for all of the things he had done against man. 

The church tells you that God is love, but they don't often inform you that he is also portrayed in the scriptures as a consuming fire. The Old Testament is full of themes about divine justice, vengeance, etc. The O.T. deity makes mans worst criminals, dictators, and tyrants seem tame in comparison to the good Lord. Christianity flourished and continues to do so because it provides hope for the downtrodden. In essence it is nothing more than a placebo for humanity's ills. 

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Christian confusion

One of the things that I have noticed about Christianity is that many of its adherents claim absolute certainty regarding the truth of their beliefs. One of the cardinal rules of logic and critical thinking is that the person making the positive claim bears the burden of proof. Those that choose neutrality (agnostics) or feel that the evidence does not support the conclusions (atheists) do not have to prove their case. Given these observations there are several things wrong with the reasoning behind the Christian worldview.

The first flaw is in their presupposition that their deity Yahweh or Jehova exists. This presupposition is just that. It is not based on facts or objective and empirical evidence. The first problem that needs to be addressed is where does this presupposition come from? The most obvious answer is that we were taught that there is a supreme deity that exists by either friends, family, or society in general. Here in the U.S. Christianity is the dominant religious institution and belief system in the entire country. We have 'In God we trust' imprinted in our currency and even inscribed in our court rooms. Many of our traditional ceremonies are imbued with Christian ideals such as weddings and funerals.

When I come across believers who wish to debate me on the issues related to their beliefs, I usually ask a series of questions in hopes of helping them see their erroneous line of reasoning. When asked for instance "Where do you think that you came from?" I usually reply with a very honest; I don't know how life began or how the universe came to be. Science knows that there was a big bang and that most likely we arose from a combination of the various chemicals present in the early earth combined with the right environmental conditions, but we don't know how the actual process took place. In the end it seems more plausible than to assume that an invisible, indescribable, unknown deity was responsible for it all.

When I ask believers how they know that their god exists I usually get the standard replies based entirely on subjective evidence. They feel him when they pray. they hear his voice or sense his will for their lives in their hearts, or they are blessed with the gift of the Holy Spirit. What they don't realize is that all of these apparent phenomenon could be easily explained through psychology, psychiatry, and other disciplines relative to how the mind works and how we interpret our experiences. What Christians need to realize is that subjective evidence is not evidence at all when it comes to proving that a god exists. If that were the case then everyone claiming to have experienced god in other religions must also be believed and their subjective experiences should be considered just as credible. Of course if we were to do that then we would have another problem: which god is the true god and how can we know that?

a :  the study of evidences of design in nature
b :  a doctrine (as in vitalism) that ends are immanent in nature
c :  a doctrine explaining phenomena by final causes 
Based on the definition above all Christians are teleologists; that is, they base their beliefs on all the apparent design that they see in nature. The doctrines of creationism or intelligent design are both based entirely on this assumption. God did it is the mantra of all creationists and ID proponents and they base their beliefs entirely on the god of the gaps theory. Basically what they do is attack science by picking on specific areas in which our knowledge is not yet complete. Abiogenesis is a popular target for creationists since it addresses our lack of knowledge regarding how life came about from inanimate matter. Science is still unclear about the actual process of how life came about but what we do know is certainly more plausible than God did it. 
Next, I have to ask them about how they know that the Bible is the word of God. I often get some interesting answers. The most common one and in my opinion the most ignorant one is that it was written by men inspired by God. But that only leads me to ask them how do they know this? The only answer is that the bible says this within its pages. 
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,    2 Timothy 3:16
For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter 1:21
Arguing for the truth of the Bible through the Bible itself is like arguing that you own the best car in the world because it says so right there in the owners manual! The other tactic is to claim that the so called prophecies of the Old Testament have all come to pass and have been fulfilled in the New Testament. Really? Actually when you take a closer look at some of these so called prophecies you will quickly realize that what they attribute to prophecies about Christ are nothing more than prophecies taken out of context from the Old and reinterpreted to suit the needs of the New Testament. It's not hard to conclude that the figure of Christ was actually created with the Old Testament in mind. The O.T. was the mold and the N.T. was the final product.

Although many atheists are familiar with the Bible and have actually read it, the problem generally lies in that we don't believe in your god, nor that he inspired a book or revealed himself and his will to man through that book. The Tanach, New Testament, the Koran, the Bhagavad Gita and all other so called divine texts are viewed by most atheists as nothing more than the products of men. To accept any of them as the word of gods would be to beg the question, because there is no evidence that any of these gods exist outside of the imaginations of men.

The bottom line is that when it comes to Christian claims, the Bible is not evidence of the existence of your God. Subjective experiences such as visions, dreams, or the experience of the Holy Spirit are also not considered evidence. In order to prove that your God exists you must take on a monumental task. You must be able to prove that he exists both objectively and empirically which to date is impossible due to the hiddeness of god. Also, if you were to prove that your god exists then you must identify this god as the one you profess to believe in.

The Bible makes it clear that you cannot know God unless you make a commitment based on faith that he exists. Basically you are stating by doing so that "I have not seen nor heard God speak but I know that he is." Faith in layman terms is nothing more than an assumption based on a commitment to belief without evidence.

assumption: something that is believed to be true or probably true but that is not known to be true : something that is assumed

The entire Christian faith as well as others are based entirely on bad assumptions. The assumption that God exists, that his name is Yahweh or Jehovah, that he is eternal, that he exists outside of space and time, that the Bible in this case is his inspired word, and that he is the creator and first cause of all things that began to exist. In this case I dare to conclude that absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the NIV of the scriptures. Word definitions are taken from the Merriam Webster dictionary online. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Jesus lives in me because I feel his spirit!

"I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few." Adolf Hitler

As many of you know who have read my deconversion story on this very blog I was once an evangelist of a Spanish fundamentalist Pentecostal church. One of the most prominent features of Pentecostalism is that they were literalists in the way that they read and interpreted the scriptures. They believed that the Bible was the inerrant word of God and because of this belief tended to take Christianity to an extreme level not so common with other sects of the faith.

7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. 1 Corinthians 12:7-11

Believers immersed in the Spirit of God or so they think.

Another feature of Pentecostalism is that their faith is not based on reason; for the most part it is based on their personal subjective experiences which they interpret as God's Spirit working through them or within them. The reason I opened this post with a Hitler quote is that this particular quote has a lot of relevance to this subject and it also reveals the main reason that atheists cannot convince through any amount of argument or persuasion a Pentecostal or other member of a similar charismatic movement of the falsity of their faith.

Noted Christian apologist William Lane Craig

Even the noted Christian apologist William Lane Craig who claims to be believing in a 'Reasonable Faith' as the title of his book states has fallen victim to the delusion of subjective experience as evidence of the veracity of his beliefs. He has often stated in his debates, writings, and interviews:"Should a conflict arise between the witness of the Holy Spirit to the fundamental truth of the Christian faith and beliefs based on argument and evidence, then it is the former which must take precedence over the latter, not vice versa. [William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics, (Revised edition, Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1994), p. 36.]
This is why fundamentalists are not phased by arguments based on reason or evidence at all! It's not about what objective or empirical evidence can seemingly prove or not. It's about what they "feel" within their "hearts." It's literally like trying to talk to a wall! For them this is a badge of honor to believe in the impossible or unbelievable without the requirement for evidence.That is why they call it faith and why faith is true despite what we have learned from reality. 
Faith is the Christians shield against reason!

Contrary to what some atheists who have never experienced the Holy Spirit personally: I can state with certainty that not everyone is faking it! I know I wasn't. I can say this because when I was in the ministry I had believed that at one time or another I had been given and used at one time or another all nine of the gifts of the Spirit as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11. I spoke in tongues, prophesied, many testified to having been healed, discerned spirits, etc. in Jesus name. I believed that God had blessed me with his spiritual gifts and their powers as a result of it. I felt currents of electricity course through my body as I layed hands on the sick and prayed for many while I preached or ministered to their spiritual needs. I always gave God the thanks and the glory for working through me and using me as his vessel.

But before I was an evangelist I was on the receiving end as well. I have been "slain in the Spirit" and I have discovered since then what really was going on inside me at the time. There are two ways to reach this so called trance like euphoria one appears to be experiencing which they believe to be the effects of the Holy Spirit. There is the slow methodical route which basically consists of the evangelist speaking in a low tone of voice and getting everyone to relax so that they can hear the still small voice of the Spirit. You talk about sin and wanting to be a better Christian and if you have a piano or an organ playing soft music in the background, even better. You reach them emotionally by telling them what they want to hear. 

The second way is through the complete opposite. You play loud and fast music in the background you yell at the top of your lungs into the mic and tell them what they want to hear. When you have them in an emotional state through either methodology the believers are in a highly suggestive state. They will follow your instructions to the letter hoping to feel a touch from God. This will manifest itself in euphoria, joy, unconsciousness, excessive crying, and a loss of control over ones emotions. Once you are riding this roller coaster of emotion you are now ready to begin speaking in tongues from what appears to be within yourself (spirit). 

If you have been paying attention you will notice that this actually sounds quite familiar. That's because it is! These same techniques are used often by stage hypnotists and even professional clinical hypnotists. The only difference is that your clients (believers) are already automatically primed because of their previous and existing indoctrination into the belief system. Typically all you are doing is reinforcing it. Now not all evangelists are even aware that they are doing this, as I certainly was not. But there are some that know exactly what they are doing and take advantage of the ignorance and gullibility of these people. 
The believers truly think that what they are experiencing when they pray at home alone or in church at service when they worship God with the rest of the congregation that they are feeling his Holy Spirit! How can you ever expect to convince someone who has had this experience otherwise? My journey towards atheism was a journey I undertook myself and it was one of the most difficult things I have ever done in my life. It's hard to get all of that indoctrination out of your head when you have seemingly had so many "divine encounters" and seemingly experienced the power of God right before your eyes. 
What believers fail to see is that these experiences are not unique to Christianity. Many of the worlds religions and their adherents seek to experience the divine and claim as do the Christians to experience their gods presence and witness his miracle working power. How do you account for that? Well, I think that the above description does one hell of a job of explaining this. Indoctrination is the key element in the whole process. Once you get them to believe whatever it is you need them to believe and you get them to commit mind, body, and spirit to those beliefs then the rest is bound to happen. 
Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures. Other sources have been linked to within the text. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

A Chrisitians silliest assumption!

Every once in a while you run into posts online that refer to stupid things Christians say. Today I am going to let my readers know right from the start that this is one of those post. When it comes to believers, they make a hell of a lot of assumptions that are not entirely based on facts and in many cases not based on facts or reality at all. In fact that is what an assumption is by definition; something that is not based on known and in most cases verifiable facts.

assume : to think that something is true or probably true without knowing that it is true

 Samuel L. Jackson in The Long Kiss Goodnight

It is my opinion that the very concept of faith is nothing more than an assumption. Faith is hoping that what you claim to believe is absolutely and undeniably correct despite all the evidence to the contrary, or as Christians like to call their preferred myths "the truth." The Christian faith makes a lot of accusations against everyone and anyone who refuses to believe their fables. Although their own scriptures and so called savior says that they shall not judge so that they too may not be judged it is actually what they do best! 

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

According to the author of John (whoever he/she was) Jesus made this very startling claim I have just cited. But these simple words embody the entire faith of Christianity and Christians the world over. Jesus is made to say in his fiction that many try to pass off as a biography that he is truth, in him there is life, and only through him can you get to the father and obtain salvation! It is this text and many others like it in the N.T. that give Christians the arrogance they so proudly display when they challenge science and society as a whole. They are so severely deluded that they no longer can tell reality from fiction. 

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 2 Thessalonians 2:13

There is one thing that Christians say to me when I meet them in person entirely by chance that annoys me to death. Here we go; let me set up the scenario for you. You are at a public place where there are a lot of people. The DMV an employment center etc. You strike up a conversation with someone and inform them of how hard it has been for you to find employment. They then tell you that you have to pray and trust in the Lord that it will come just at the right time when you least expect it. You then reply as I often do that I don't believe in God and that you don't think prayer could ever help you. Then you get the dreaded: "Do you think that the fact that we are talking has happened by chance? You may have forgotten God, but he has not forgotten you we are talking right here right now because God has a plan for your life."

for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. Romans 11:29

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Now you see where they get it from! They're are seriously not making this shit up they are just following the instruction manual of the most immoral and degrading book ever produced! The next time you hear Christians making stupid and unfounded statements not based on facts or reality try to be patient and cut them some slack. It's not entirely their fault! Most likely the babble that is driveling out of their mouth without thought is probably written in their "holy" book and has been taught to them by a professional liar; the clergy.

Remember Christians and Muslims have been indoctrinated and find in their faith their last and only hope in this life and the next one that they so dearly long for. They can't wait till the day that they see their imaginary god man descending from the clouds with the angels. They long to hear the imaginary trumpet sound as their bodies are airlifted to the heavens in the blinking of an eye so that they could be with their delusion forever and ever amen. They learned this from a priest, pastor, or evangelist at one time or another and for some reason they chose to believe it. They did not think for one second how ridiculous these claims were from a rational standpoint. 

Forget the talking snakes and donkeys! They are focused on the N.T. which features a god becoming a man and dying for their imaginary affliction they call sin. Not only did our god man die but he rose from the dead and hung around for a few days or even forty days it all depends on which gospel you read since no one can seem to get the story straight! He then floated up into the heavens and disappeared into the clouds to be with himself. But before he left he told his followers "don't worry I will be back shortly" (I'm paraphrasing of course!) And it's been about two thousand years and we still have people silly enough to believe that he is coming back! I guess you just had to be there! 

Note: All biblical citations on this post are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

God: behind the mask of a moral monster

6The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. 7So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.”Genesis 6:6-7

In Genesis chapter six we are introduced to the well known and ofen cited story of Noah's ark. Within this story God decides to destroy mankind including the animals  because mankind had become wicked and his thoughts were always on evil all the time. But my problem with this story is mainly best formulated in the form of a question. What did the animals do that made the Lord come to such a rash decision to include them in his "final solution" of cleansing the earth?

Any rational person who has ever studied wild life can tell you that animals have no concept of sin. In order to be a sinner according to the teachings of the Bible you must first possess the ability to be self aware and conscious of sin. Think about this for a minute. Could you consciously convict a 5 year old for arson if he started a fire and caused extensive damage because he happened to be playing with matches? Even in today's legal system there are stipulations that protect the criminally insane from prosecution if they are found incompetent to stand trial. In order to be liable for a crime you must have the mental capacity to know that what you did was wrong.

Being consciously aware of your sins is what repentance is all about! You can't repent of something that you are not even aware that you have done. Despite the fact that on more than one occassion the Bible has ridiculous tales of animals talking or God using them to carry out his plans as in the story of Jonah, there is nothing that indicates then nor today that animals are self aware, self reflective, or that they even live by a moral code as we understand morality.

Animal cruelty is a crime!

21Every living thing that moved on land perished—birds, livestock, wild animals, all the creatures that swarm over the earth, and all mankind. 22Everything on dry land that had the breath of life in its nostrils died. 23Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; people and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds were wiped from the earth.Genesis 7:21-23

Notice above how the Bible proudly anounces the death of the majority of mankind, and the animals. So much so that for emphasis it takes three verses to narrate this horrendous act of cruelty by a so called loving and beneficent creator God! In the story of Noah's ark we see the worlds most horrible crime committed and yet today people insist that we praise and worship the worse criminal in all of history known to man. What people fail to realize is that if the story of Noah's ark is true then God is no better than Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler, or Stalin combined! Christians insist that without God in your life it is impossible for anyone to know or possess true morals or comprehend the concept of morality.

Murder is immoral no matter how or by whom it is carried out!

It's pretty ironic that the Bible actually condemns murder but apparently God is free to do so at will and not held accountable for his actions because he is the creator and can do with his creation as he pleases! Murder is defined as : to kill (a human being) unlawfully and with premeditated malice.God definitely fulfilled these requirements not just in the tale of Noah's ark but in numerous other tales contained in the Bible as well. Apologists can say that they were sinners and that they had it coming, but it does not make up for the fact that if any of these tales were true (which they aren't) the Bible is a book which contains some of the most horrendous crimes man has ever known.

The biblical deity is a monster! 

Generally when we think of monsters we think of blood thirsty imaginary beings who lust for the taste of flesh and blood. We have even classified serial killers as monsters for the simple fact that they have an apparently insatiable bloodlust like nothing we can ever even begin to imagine. When we think of monsters we imagine them as hating humans for the most part and bent on our destruction. If these descriptions of monsters are accurate don't you think that it's about time that we add our imagined deities to this list and call them what they are? 

Note: All biblial citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

When faith goes bad

It is common knowledge that when anything is taken to the extreme that it has a tendency to go very wrong. The same can be said for the fundamentalists belief in faith healing or as I like to call it faith killing. There are many verses in the New Testament that when taken literally can have detrimental effects on your mental health, can cause physical harm, or death! The doctrine of faith healing is one of these extreme forms of Christianity that has cost countless lives due to the literal belief in the exaggerated claims of faith.

Benny Hinn

14Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:14-16

Not surprisingly the doctrine of faith healing does have a biblical foundation in various texts such as the one cited above. In fact, the church I belonged to when I was a believer was big on laying on of hands and faith healing. Sometimes we would conduct what is known as a prayer circle where the congregation would form a circle around the sick and hold hands as we all prayed for their health to be restored. 

Herbert and Catharine Schiable read their tragic story here.
In Mark 2 1-12 is the story of a paralytic that is healed by Jesus. I want you to pay attention here for a very important reason. Notice in James 5:16 how there is a correlation between being healed and having your sins forgiven. In that text they are used synonymously with one another. In the story of the paralytic Jesus does the same thing! 
9Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? 10But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11“I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”  Mark 2:9-11

It is because of this that many fundamentalist churches teach that sickness is caused by several reasons. One is that God is testing your faith and perseverance, you have some unresolved issues (sins) that you have not yet repented of, or as a result or consequence of sin itself. It is because of this that many times people who are prayed over are admonished to claim their miracle and not let anything shake them from that proclamation of faith. They are told even if they feel ill or pain from not taking a prescribed and needed medication that they must stay the course. That's nothing but the devil trying to "steal" your blessing. 

Faith is after all: confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1 
Many studies have shown that faith healing does not work. In fact there is a great article about faith healing here written by a medical doctor who runs the website The American Cancer society also has a nice little article about faith healing here.

The U.S. Constitution

Many Christian groups that shun medical treatment over faith healing love to grab a hold of the first amendment when they feel that their religious freedoms are being violated. 

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
When you read this do you think that what the authors of the Constitution meant was that this clause gave churches the right to violate the laws that are otherwise applicable to all U.S. citizens in the name of religion? I don't think so! In fact, in 1947 Justice Hugo Black wrote:
"The "establishment of religion" clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion to another ... in the words of Jefferson, the [First Amendment] clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between church and State' ... That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach."
 In the case of faith healing children should not be allowed to die with or without the consent of the parents. This is not about some church ceremony that no one who is not a believer would even care about. This is about the life of an innocent child who does not yet possess the mental capacity to make such a difficult choice regarding life and death. It is the responsibility of the parents to protect their children from harm, religious faith be damned!! 

It is my opinion that any parents who allow their children to die because of their so called faith should be charged with child neglect and murder. As for the brain washed zombies that choose to die because they have faith that God is going to heal them good riddance! You probably deserved it for being so goddamned deluded!

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures. All other citations have been linked to in the body of the text.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lazy Christianity

16For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:16

There are in my opinion two types of Christians in this world. There are the talkers and the walkers or the doers and the sayers. Let me clarify this for a moment. I have been blogging for a few years now on matters about Christianity and I have come across all kinds of so called believers. Apparently there as many interpretations of the scriptures as there are believers that puts those interpretations into the millions. We have those that try to live the gospel and apply its principles to their lives and those that do so hypocritically. The latter are the ones this post is primarily referring to. These are our adored and beloved cherry pickers.

It is because of verses like the one cited above that many believers think that salvation is a free gift and that it does not require any effort on your part as a believer to maintain your salvation. It is my intent to clarify this position once and for all. I'm sure there will be those (mostly the cherry pickers) who will disagree with me but I could care less.

The very first step towards receiving the so called free gift of God (salvation) is clearly stated over and over again throughout the Old and New Testament. It is repentance and what does God (we will speak as if he exists) mean by repentance?

To be sorry for sin as morally evil, and to seek forgiveness; to cease to love and practice sin.
To feel regret or sorrow; -- used reflexively. Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary

From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."
 Matthew 4:17

Taking our definition into consideration and the fact that John the baptist and Jesus himself called people to repentance implies that you have to acknowledge that you are in sin and in need of salvation. That the life that you have been living is not pleasing nor in accordance to the will of God. The most important part of the twelve steps to recovery outlined in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is admitting that you have a problem with alcohol. In similar fashion the sinner must also admit his need for redemption. 

The next step is believing that Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead and has forgiven you of your sins and redeemed you through the shedding of his blood. 

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God9not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Many lazy believers take verse nine to mean that works are not necessary to insure your salvation. The truth of the matter is that you are saved by faith according to the scriptures but at the same time the Bible clearly teaches that faith is not enough.First of all repenting of your sins implies feeling regret, but one sign of that repentance is through not doing it again. For instance if I was a drug dealer and repented of my sins and accepted Christ as my Lord and savior, then I would have to quit drug dealing since I realize that it is wrong and destroys other human lives.

1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? Romans 6:1-2

9No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. 1 John 3:9

The true sign of repentance is the outward display of it which is made evident through ones active participation in changing his or her ways. This brings to mind the story of the demoniac of the Gerasenes as told in Mark 5:1-20 This man supposedly was possessed of a legion of demons when he encountered Christ. For those of you who don't know Easton's Bible Dictionary defines a legion as: "A regiment of the Roman army, the number of men composing which differed at different times. It originally consisted of three thousand men, but in the time of Christ consisted of six thousand, exclusive of horsemen, who were in number a tenth of the foot-men. The word is used to express simply a great multitude." So according to this dictionary a legion consisted of about 6,000 men of the Roman army at the time of Christ!

The story claims that this man used to live in tombs and that no one was strong enough to subdue him or bind him with chains because he would break the chains! He would often howl and cut himself with stones and quite frankly by today's standards he would have been considered completely insane. But when Jesus delivers this man from demon possession he then looks and acts normal once again. Here is the part the lazy Christian needs to pay particular attention to since I know that some of you for the most part suffer from reading comprehension issues. The man asked Jesus if he could accompany him and Jesus refused to let him come with him. Instead he sent him to the town.

18As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed. Mark 5:18-20

Why did the people marvel? Because they knew who this man was and knew or believed that he was demon possessed or insane. Yet here he was proclaiming what God had done for him through Christ not just with his words but with his personal experience and life as a testimony for all to see.

20You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?
24You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
James 2:20;24

You see my lazy believers? Faith without works is dead! No cherry picking or denial of what these texts say will free you from the obvious: that if you are a lazy Christian, you are a hypocrite. Don't just talk the talk, walk the walk. Salvation may be a free gift of God, but you still have to work at keeping it.

5For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.10Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:5-11

Note: All biblical citations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures. All other sources have been linked to.