Are Evangelical Christians deluding themselves?
The Love and Wrath of God
Clergy and theologians tell us that God is all-loving, good, great, just, and full of mercy and grace. But is this true and really the God of the Bible or is it the God they would like to portray to their gullible followers? Why is it, that when we study the Bible we find otherwise? The Bible teaches us that love and wrath are the very essence of God. How can love which by definition wants good and wrath (causing evil), abide in the same person at the same time? Surely love will drive out wrath and wrath will drive out love. No one in there right mind would view a wrathful person as a loving person and vice versa. So are the wrathful God of the Old Testament and the loving God of the New Testament one and the same God?
For instance there is nothing loving about the senseless murdering of millions of people, innocent babies and billions of animals in the Flood of Noah, or in a jealous, blood thirsty God slaying thousands of men, women and children who were worshiping Baal at the time of Moses. So God’s wrath is in response to a perceived wrong doing or rebellion and is understood to be righteous punishment from a just, judgmental and legalistic God. Apostle Paul explains that it is the terror of the Lord that makes him persuade people to follow Christ. God executes wrath, vengeance and punishment as he sees fit – apparently he can for he is God.
How can being tortured and burning in hell for eternity (infinity) be a punishment that matches the so- called crime (finite) of not believing in Jesus as the son of God and thereby rejecting him as Lord and personal saviour? Christ taught more about hell and punishment then any one else in the Bible. So there is no difference between both the “Gods” of the Old and New Testaments. They are one and the same. This will come as a shock to Christians that have been raised on a “feel good” diet of “God is love” cranked out by listener-friendly sermons that tickle-the-ear of their members, from the pulpits of mega Churches across the land. Who are we to argue with a God who is revealed to us through scripture as being a God of love and wrath and that these co-exist together? Is drowning innocent babies, cubs, pups etc. (Noah’s flood) construed as fair and just punishment for the wrong doing of rebellious and superstitious adults? Did the babies ask to be born or for that matter did the adults have any choice in being born as well. What about all the war crimes (evil), that were perpetrated under Gods (Yahweh) direct order and blessing, on the surrounding nations? (Rape, pillage, slavery, massacre of woman, children and animals constitute evil and are categorised as war crimes and genocide). They do not tell you about that in a Church near you and when you read it in the Bible they cover it up by telling you that was in the Old Testament. But in reality there is no excuse for this behaviour as it is the same God (I AM) who also said I change not and am the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever.
How many can testify to the fact, that they became Christians from an early age because they were scared witless from fear of frying in Christian hell forever after listening to a ranting and emotionally-charged “hell fire and brimstone” sermon? However today preachers are embarrassed by the “wrath of God” message and therefore concentrate on the “love of God” message. So from being scared and frightened into the kingdom by the wrath of God we are now loved into the kingdom by the divine love of God. For those who still do not enter in, as a last resort there is always the despicable Pascal’s Wager. “It’s better to believe just in case. So that should you have been proved wrong you will at least be saved from a Christian Hell, if there is one.” How many impressionable children and vulnerable people have to wrestle with this heavy burden of perceived damnation weighing upon their minds by being force-fed these doctrines by deluded parents and shepherds of religion?
The perfect concept of love is supposedly found in Jesus (God) who died for us on a cruel Roman cross. This is the pinnacle of divine love and it is purported to heal, give a reason for living, and it makes people worthy as many sins are forgiven and you are accepted in the beloved family of God. It is the love of God that is supposed to draw us to him. This love is so wonderful that it cannot be measured or understood. Jesus is the most worthy being in the Universe. He is the only begotten Son of God. He expressed his love in the most tangible way possible. He chose to suffer and die so that we could go to his mansion in heaven and not spend an eternity in Hell. We have all heard the children sing “Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so.” Love is the greatest fixation there is in the universe and it is this concept of love (which, in my opinion, is nothing more than to be in love with love). This is comforting and addictive when it serves to fill an emotional need in our lives. For how can anyone be in love with a God who is truthfully depicted as a wrathful and monster God? Murderers and rapists doing jail time gravitate to the love of God and become transformed as they seek to escape their harsh loveless world as well as their guilty conscience. The Gospel of Jesus gives meaning and purpose to a failed life.
You see, the love-based benefits are the emotional bait. Preachers ignore the negative and harp on the positive like good salesmen. Has anyone caught a hungry, unsuspecting, gullible fish with just a cruel hook? No, for without a tasty morsel of bait covering it, no fish would be tempted? Do corrupt Nigerians, upon offering you millions from a fictitious inheritance, for which you are alleged to be the only living relative, explain in their letters that you are about to be conned out of your deposit? Absolutely not, they instead appeal to the greed and gullibility of our human nature. Do charismatic, power and money-hungry Mega Church Senior Pastors preach that you must tithe and give to them your hard-earned money or you are stealing from God, before they hook you with a sermon on the “love of God’.
Why do people still believe in this blatant and ridiculous nonsense in a 21st century scientific world? Physiatrists explain to us that it is much easier (people are lazy) to believe than to doubt. This is particularly relevant to Christianity, as so much is promised for just believing:
- Physiatrists have proven results that explain to us that belief is the "path of least resistance", while disbelief requires much more concerted effort. It is easier to believe than to question and doubt because you then spend time and effort in searching to find logical answers, whereas blind faith which comes by believing the Bible, is easier as it does not question, but accepts and follows.
- “Children the world over have a strong natural receptivity to believing in a god because of the way their minds work, and this early developing receptivity continues to anchor our intuitive thinking throughout life," says anthropologist Justin Barrett.
- Pascal Boyer, a psychologist, points out that people expect their Gods' minds to work very much like human minds, suggesting they spring from the same brain system that enables us to think about absent or non-existent people., ie. Jesus being just an imaginary friend.
“What a friend we have in Jesus!” (Imaginary friend) Where are the good old fire and brimstone preachers? Their message does not appeal to a modern young generation and is therefore irrelevant. Just as the message of Peter, John and James did not appeal to the Greeks and Romans till the Apostle Paul, who did not even know the historical Jesus, changed it to a more user-friendly, faith and grace-based one. Who would want a friend that casts you into hell and is distant and more concerned with judgement than organising your parking bay at the local Mall or blessing the food you eat three times a day, or rearranging the weather for your personal benefit? Jesus becomes a buddy and not a fearsome, “all consuming fire” and you become a “Kings Kid.” Life could not be better! You have “Pie in the sky” when you leave your earthly body and “steak on the plate” here and now.
The following experiment recorded in Science, vol 322, p 115 sheds some more insight on that pertinent question of why people become evangelical Christians:
- “In an experiment half the participants were made to feel a lack of control of a situation. The results were striking. The subjects who sensed a loss of control fell back on superstitious ways of thinking. That would explain why religions enjoy a revival in the lives of people when they experience hard times.”
- Hard times would be any of the following: sickness, substance abuse/addiction, bereavement, tragedy, poverty, divorce, war, instability, unemployment, being orphaned, loss, accident, theft, etc.
Enlightened preachers use the message of life’s situations and circumstances that corral you into a corner whereby “you feel a lack of control” and thereby you turn willingly, thankfully and robotically like being hypnotised, to a Christ who: heals the broken hearted, sets the captive free and makes the lame to walk and the blind to see. Jesus makes you healthy, wealthy and a gives you power to become a Son of God. Who can resist? With a pitch like that no wonder the Mega Churches are raking in the money. Running a Fundamentalist Christian Church is the best recession-proof business to be in. Even farmers become preachers and thousands of ex advantaged - currently disadvantaged whites in South Africa flock to listen to garbage at annual conferences where angels and God mix with mere mortals and so called miracles are the order of the day.
Certain dignitaries in the Catholic Church centuries ago abused their authority by selling and granting indulgences for sins committed whereby sinners could get a short cut to absolution with no penance involved. Currently Mega Churches (Gods Mafia) fleece there gullible members and offer eternal life for a fee (indulgence) of ten percent of your gross income and much more in offerings (tithes and offerings). The senior Pastors (most with pompous and bogus Dr titles before there names) live in indulgent tax free luxury with mansions, expensive cars and even private planes that would make the poor, humble carpenter’s son embarrassed to be associated with them.
They tell you, while applying brain-washing hypnotic techniques, (strong emotions – love and fear- music, singing, and voice-roll) that if you do not tithe you are robbing God. The Church members, while gently swaying with their hands in the air, enter into a trance-like state which can be seen in the misting of their eyes, as they become highly emotional under the hypnotic mood that is cast over the congregation. Then the great excitement comes to a peak and consequently cheque books are flung open with stamping, jumping, clapping, shouting, joy and glee. Did you think salvation was free you may ask? When your physical body dies and has been buried or cremated, it has been promised by the preacher man that your resurrected body will enter through the pearly gates into the City, where the streets are lined with gold. You have total dominion and authority because of Christ from the moment you are “saved” and every thing Abraham and Jesus had are yours by faith. You can pick up dangerous snakes, drink poison, cast out demons, and heal the sick.
It is no surprise then that the gospel is amazing and wonderfully appealing - if it were true. If it sounds too good to be true as the saying goes, it usually is too good to be true. Jesus can not be the Son of Yahweh (God) as Yahweh does not really exist outside the imagination and the Bible:
- “ In the view of the argument from polymorphic projection, everything about the God Yahweh appears suspiciously all-too-human. What Yahweh believes about the world, his self-talk, what he considers morally right and wrong and the way in which his own abode is run, are all uncannily similar to the worldview and superstitions of the Iron Age Levant. The divine variables never transcend this all-too-local and all-too-cultural matrix and even change along with it. This unmasks Yahweh as a … character of fiction who does not exist outside the minds of those who created him in their image.”
Read complete thesis why Yahweh does not exist by Dr Jaco Gericke
to be contd.