CS Lewis, a famous Christian (and author of such questionable drivel as 'The Screwtape Letters') once wrote: "Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse." It's possible that a Christ-like figure did exist at one time, Tacitus certainly references one, a man who was unjustly crucified, who then gained a following in Rome that persisted after his death. It is interesting that even Tacitus called it right in those early days. Besides using the word 'mischief' to describe the motives of this new belief system he refers to it as ' the pernicious superstition'. If you're too lazy to look the word up, 'pernicious' means dangerous, harmful or damaging, and at a time that Rome was trying to create civilisation and laws, here was a system to undermine that civilisation. Tacitus goes even further to call this group 'convicted...[for their] hatred against mankind'.
And this is my point. For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son...right? At the same time, Christians are exhorted to turn their back on the world, for the world belongs to the devil, to turn our backs on our animal nature's and focus on things beyond the Earthly realm. We're not animals and God forbid, we are not descended from animals. We are not part of the world, we must in fact be apart from it. Believers are taught to hate the world, and worldliness. Does that include travelling, and finding out about other countries and ideas? Should we hate that too?
If you still think it's too extreme a point, consider that Christians insist that evolution is just a theory; it hasn't been proved. It's an interesting hypocrisy, because the evidence for Christianity's case is one or two paragraphs of writing in Genesis, it's oldest books, no witness account exist whatsoever. In terms of Jesus' very existence there is scant evidence either .ie nothing written by scribes in Jesus' supposed lifetime, and no artifacts. Of course evolution is a very cohesive explanation, and the evidence is abundant for the nature of how life came to be on Earth, and especially, an explanation for how Speciation took place. It is certainly a better explanation than Christianity's, which cites a 6 day creation paragraph as sufficient and a fable about dust and ribs coming to life and a garden and tree story borrowed from the mythical literature that belongs to all of humanity, rather than being specific to Judaism. The rejection of the science of evolution in fact aligns perfectly with believers rejection of life as a whole. Their rejection of evolution is premised on one idea: God made life, as opposed to the suggestion from evolutionary theory - that life spontaneously comes into existence, as we see on islands previously exploded into ash by volcanoes, become sterile and are then seeded by the life from nearby oceans washing ashore. A believer sitting on such an island suddenly seeing a flower pop its head through volcanic topsoil may see this as a miracle, a signal that the creator snapped his (but not her) finger, and indeed it is a testament to life 'finding a way', life's evolved resilience and persistence. The insistence that 'god did it', that 'god does everything' is necessary to give him both authority and responsibility for the believer's life. To deny or question this absolute omnipotence threatens the believers own perceived, transferred powers to his perceived all-powerful saviour.
Christians love to tell us that God loved the world so much he sent his son, who died for us. Thus, out of guilt, we owe a favour that was done before we were born... We must repay that favour with our lives, or at least, the intentions of our lives. We are asked to quite literally 'give your life to Jesus', and believers are happy to unthinkingly do so. Children in particular. It makes sense from a particularly sick line of reasoning. Why did God then love the world, if the men he saved he wanted to have them live in the world but ignore the world at the same time and focus only on him? Either vanity and egoism at its worst, or a sort of divine schizophrenia.
If you think the idea that Christians should reject the world and live apart from it is far fetched, consider the cults of Christianity that have evolved, starting with the Amish, and going via the Catholics all the way through to your most liberal Christians. What all these cults have in common in is that they despise those who are not Christians like themselves, including other Christians. By being insular, by devoting their days on earth to time in heaven, they develop a bitterness to imagined enemies, by calling themselves good, someone has to be evil, and probably, there needs to be an axis of evil. In this way you develop a deep-seated hatred for your fellow human beings, and also, for all life.
The heroism of Christianity then is based on renunciation; renunciation of this world, and this life, and all its satisfactions. If you're a Christian and you earn an income, you're expected to give some of it away. You're supposed to die to your life, as a sort of deposit into your life after death. Well, better hope there is one.
Ernest Becker, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of Escape From Evil (a book I highly recommend) calls Christianity and the ideas that flowed into it "an anti heroism by an animal to deny life in order to deny evil". It's a crazy psychology, but by accepting a few aspects of an insane idea, the whole madness probably makes some sense. For example, if you swallow the lie that you are part of the master race, it's easier to believe another group isn't, and then begin to act, to take your first step towards 'a final solution to the problem'. In other words, mass murder, a holocaust. Interestingly, evil comes about as a result of an idea how we think ourselves to be good, it seldom manifests from mere wickedness as many think. Large scale evil can only be perpetrated on the world when many groups buy into it, thus it must have an essence of being or seeming good, at least to the group. Make sense? In the same way, if you buy into the bull that we inherit original sin when we are born, 'we are born sinners', and the price of sin is death... (animals also die incidentally, are they sinners too?) and that we possess a soul that disembodies after we die, carries it's own identity book and is a sort of ghost with flesh that lives an afterlife, appreciates gold pavements and harp music and can supposedly vocalise songs of praise (I'd prefer to live eternity as a young person, than as a crooked old person with a walking stick and a dysfunctional sex drive). Or are all souls magically reset to a particular age? Christians don't like to think about the nuts and bolts of their faith, they prefer the self-reinforcing nature of it. After all, faith is the mirror we hold to ourselves. If God answers prayers, it's to the extent that our faith in our own immortality project is restored or viable. And you know what they say, when doomsday predictions don't come true, believers tend to have even more faith in them.
In the end, the madness of men who call themselves Christians is really their hatred for life, and for mankind. They reject it, they also reject themselves. They say they are better than their animal natures, even though they use the toilet, and are the first to applaud war and evangelism in the name of furthering their group identity and power upon the world.
The harm from this is that when you're not part of the world you're not invested in solving real problems, not in your own life and not in the life of your generation. You are especially reluctant to own up to those things you are responsible for. Thus your currency becomes one of denial on this planet, lying to oneself, in the name of a mansion in a netherworld which you get when you die. Climate change, species extinction, pollution, energy limits, environmental and other social issues...are God's problem. In the end the believer is like a selfish cancer. It is first and foremost interested in preserving and furthering itself. And in fully realising its 'reborn self' it acts exactly as a cancer does, killing its host, taking over as many cells as it can, and welcoming the end of the world as a some sort of fulfillment of its self destructive (anti-world) destiny. It's a crazy system and people who belong to it are madmen. If they don't recognise this, it's time everyone else does.