Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Psycho God Test

Lets do a quick thought experiment.

You're sitting at home, enjoying dinner with your family when suddenly a SWAT team bursts though the doors and windows.  They grab your mother and beat her do a bloody pulp with their nightsticks right there in front of her family.  Then they drag her outside  and kick her until she loses consciousness after which one of the officers takes out his gun and shoots her in the back of the head.  Traumatized and horrified by what just happened, you ask "WHY?! Why did you do this?"  The officer closest to you tells you, "Because we found out she had been gossiping".

What is your response?  Do you say:

A - "Oh, right that does make sense.  We warned her that gossip was really bad.  I'm sad of course but she brought this on herself"



So which did you choose?  Did you pick B?  I hope you picked B, that was the only remotely sane option.  In fact I hope everyone would pick B.  Problem is, not everyone does.  A lot of people have to choose A because they believe that option A is the right, kind and loving option.  Despite any and all internal struggles this might provoke, they will have to pretend that is the right option, the good option.  They will have to do that because they are Christians and this is what they believe about their God.

That is a panel from a Chick tract aimed at children to teach them about heaven, hell and salvation.  See all the things that disqualify one for heaven?  Dirty thoughts, hate, gossip, lies, revenge and cruelty.  None of those are particularly nice but do you consider any of those unforgivable?  Do you consider those to be grounds for eternal torture?  I know I'm using a Chick tract here but this isn't some crazy fringe notion.  While not every Christian denomination believes this, a great many do.  Since earliest childhood this has been the message I've gotten in church - all sins are equally bad therefore doing even the most minor thing wrong makes you a sinner unworthy of God and deserving only of eternal torture in Hell.  Stealing a paperclip and killing someone is equally sinful.  There are no white lies, only lies. Dirty thoughts make you as guilty before God as dirty deeds would.  For a great example of this kind of reasoning, check out The Way of the Master's famous "Are you a good person?" evangelical tool.

So yeah, this is really what millions of Christians believe.  Funny thing, this is not what millions of Christians actually practice.  I'd like to think that most of them would read my little thought experiment and agree that yes, this is an insane way to react to something as insignificant as gossip.  This is because they go through their lives able to forgive small offenses.  Hell, they might even consider some offenses too small to actually count as offenses!  Isn't it odd how people can be more merciful, more kind, more loving and more forgiving than the perfectly merciful, kind, loving and forgiving God they pray to?  Somehow millions of people manage to be more moral than the alleged source of their morality.

If you wouldn't kill someone for saying a bad word, or for that matter thinking it, doesn't that make you better than a God who would?  Eternal torture for inconsequential, temporal wrongdoing seems like something only an insane psychopath would do because it is something only an insane psychopath would do.  Deep down, you know it's true.

1 comment:

GumbyTheCat said...

It's not just doctrine it's an awesome business tool. What better way to sell something than to convince people that no matter how minor their transgression, they will fry for all eternity unless they buy the product.

Hope all is well Eugene!