By way of introduction, for the motivation and reference to my future writings and mullings, some background about me seems a good place to start before I begin afresh my argument against the existence of any Gods:
I have decided that I don’t like anything I have written before. So, without further ado, I would like to trash it all. News24 doesn’t allow for the permanent deletion of my articles so it serves best to delete ‘in spirit’; so in a sense I will be taking a page out of the ideas of the religious peddlers of self-worship and through my writing be born again.
My previous considerations are no more useful than they are childish drivel, some of which I have changed my mind on anyway. And so, an overhaul is necessary. Moreover, my writing has been decidedly critiqued by both theist and non-religious alike and as a movement several criticisms have been brought against me. One such criticism is my use of the idiomatic expression “ladies and gentlemen” which my recently appointed agent (who now has the final say in all my writing) has in the spirit of the Old Testament commanded I no longer use the term. And so it is, that I am now forced to address you, good readers, as my friends and comrades (although no doubt there will be complaint that I have missed the point).
Regarding the tyrannical notion of God, and the premise that belief is immoral: I wish to convince you in a few minutes why this could be so. It is clear to me that if one claims to be a Christian then it is believed and accepted that Jesus was sacrificed for one’s sins. In fact you must believe this to be called a Christian - that there is salvation and redemption contained within the belief and faith of this sacrifice. It is difficult to see how, let alone believe, that any rationally thinking person could come to the conclusion that self-sacrifice and martyrdom can be, or is, a moral act.
As thinking humans and as people, I, firstly, put it to you that, had you been there, you would have tried to stop the suffering and crucifixion; this alone already makes you more moral than the Christian God who could have stopped this sacrifice at any time, but chose not to. Who would stand by and watch as someone is publically and barbarically tortured before being executed on a cross in the name of justice? Who would demand such acts from the current magistrate – against his will? Do we not find the public stoning’s in the insane asylum, we call Pakistan, abhorrent? Yet with Jesus, we are told that God not only wanted to sacrifice and torture his son, but that we must thank him for it also and find absolution within the act of sacrifice and martyrdom. This seems paradoxically like tempting fate: sacrifice and negating human worth is a hero-victim strategy which allows not only for the indefinite search of the ‘grail’ of worthiness but also a misconceived indefinite belief in the righteousness ‘good’: You’re born as dirt in sin, and worthless, but through Jesus you can find value that you don’t deserve! Friends, this is not morality - this is abandonment of our humanity!
Self-sacrifice for your sins essentially allows for scapegoating of one’s own transgressions on a massive, or more aptly biblical, scale in order to allow for the permeation of guilt and ultimately to apportion blame somewhere else. Is it possible to absolve someone of guilt by serving their punishment for them? No, I can’t stand trial for someone else’s crimes, even if I wanted to – not my friend, wife or sons. Nobody can. Neither can any God – in fact I claim it makes it less moral for an all-powerful being to do it.
Secondly, we are told we must accept that this act (that we would have tried to stop, and didn’t want committed in our name) must bind us all, forever after? What extreme arrogance Jesus must have had to force this on us. To accept this ‘gift’ strips us of our free will, independence and autonomy. Jesus dictates in the scriptures that what he is doing is righteous and then imposes, on those of us not even born, something we rationally recognise as immoral. And, in a final act of the trampling of our humanity, he then, three days later flippantly declares that he is well and wondering about again, showing people his hands and feet.
How can this be anything more than childish fantasy? Oh you don’t want it this way? Well it’s too bad, the sacrifice is already made; you’re already committed, and if you don’t like it, you can go to straight to Hell. In a grand declaration you are told: You deserve it, I created you deserving of eternal punishment, so you better thank and worship me for it.
I ask you, good reader, do you really believe this? To me, this is seems more the concept manifestation of a totalitarian dictatorship: ‘Do as I say or be tortured and die’. Must we strive for an eternity of North Korea? More simply put: This is not an offer worth taking. Rather, it is an offer that has a father send his own son to be sacrificed. Who condones or even applauds that sacrificing one’s own child is a moral act? Would you be prepared to sacrifice your child? I ask this quite seriously.
“But this is all part of his plan!” I can almost hear your tongues clicking at me from behind your ergonomically designed desk and imported leather chair, crafted by the loving child labour of China’s children who will die, not knowing this wonderful offer of Jesus (some even now as you read on) and spend eternity paying the price for it. It’s some offer isn’t it: Mass destruction and genocide; the pitiless extermination of the human race barring one family; merciless terror on cities, death and plagues; capricious jealousy of idols, slavery of nations going on and on and on… All of this unimaginably complex scale of events set in motion, so that billions of years later your priest can stand up on his pulpit on a Sunday and tell us that if you are born gay, you can go straight to hell.
Indeed, it’s impressive to me that anyone can claim to believe these absurdly obvious immoral ideas and then claim they wish to be just like the person who supposedly committed them. It’s impressive to me that you can live with yourself or look anyone in the face after claiming you would commit these acts in public. It is impressive to me that you would willingly subjugate yourself and worship someone who has apparently created us sick, then ordered us to become well with the threat of eternal torture. Its impressive to me that you can want to become shackled to an absolute authority, instead of wanting to emancipate yourself from the puerile commands of a man made religion.
This is your choice. But leave me out of it. Leave my children out of this self-destruction. I don’t want them to be taught in any school, private or otherwise the immoral idea that they must be thankful to live as a slave. I don’t want them to be enslaved and oppressed by the people who will tell them that they are dead, unless they conform to the theatrical self-same notion of what is good or evil. I, certainly, don’t want anyone to have to go through life being forced to give up the freedom of thought and enquiry of critical thinking or the inherent curiosity of doubt that we as humans aspire to.
So I urge you to take a good look at the people who preach that they have an absolute truth, revealed only to them. Take a look at the pathos and suffering of their supporters. Look at the followers who willingly give up their antiretroviral drugs for prayer at the instruction of their glorified ‘leaders’. Look at the people who don’t take their child to a doctor but pray to the callous God of the bible instead. Once confronted with the reality, it becomes clearer that the entire system of belief is immoral, Take the risk of thinking for yourself. It is what you must do if you claim to be human, don’t sacrifice that right.
And so, I am compelled to conclude, as anyone who indeed investigates the argument for a sacrifice by design will conclude, that the scapegoating of anyone in the name of someone else’s sins is immoral and doesn’t absolve the transgressions of another. As much as I may want to, I could never stand trial for the crimes of my children. Nobody can, not even a God. Surely that much is obvious to us. Is it not? We cannot create a moral framework from a book that explicitly commands a totalitarian authority of belief without thought. Does John 14:6 not state “No one comes to the Father except through me.” What kind of God engineers an earth where cultural isolation of various humans – for example Muslims in Pakistan – are doomed for eternal punishment in Hell at birth, because these children will be raised knowing only Islam, and may die never having hear of this version of God? Please explain to me why this version of reality is more moral to the version where we question those who tell us to think like this. I want to live my life every day knowing that what is moral comes from a rational understanding of the consequences of our actions. I want to understand that my actions have an effect on other people and theirs on me – and that if we are going to live together then we need to use empathy to recognise that impact on one another. I want to get my morality from an understanding of reality and not from an assertion of Authority or Divine Command. Why don’t you?
If you want to engage a little more with me, please feel free to jump onto Facebook chat, ask I attend your church or mosque or have coffee with you… or if you are also curious and enquiring join the South African Skeptics group, which I am a part of, that values evidence and critical thinking over bias or preconception. Thanks goes to my Agent Bronwyn Ansell for her hard work and dedication.