“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life”-John 3:16 KJV
“Jesus went to Calvary,
To save a wretch, like you and me,
That’s love, that’s love…”-Old Gospel tune
It is amazing what nonsense one can accept when they are wearing the blinders of religious faith. When I look back on what I was raised to believe as a Baptist, I am tempted to question the sanity of my the denomination and Christendom in general. Of course I know this is not the case. They don’t all have mental problems. But when I think of the core element of Christianity I always find myself asking :“What the FUCK? Who made this up and how did I fall for it?”
In my family the major holiday of our religious calendar was Easter Sunday. A non-denominational church I attended briefly when I was twenty years old called it ‘Resurrection Sunday’ instead in an attempt to-wait for it-strip the holiday of its’ pagan origins(yes they were serious). Regardless of what you chose to call it, Easter was crucial to our faith. Sure we celebrated Christmas. But it was through Easter,through Christ’s brutal crucifixion and glorious resurrection-that we had been ‘saved’. As my pastor once said, if Jesus had only been born and not crucified, all would have been lost. Mankind still would have had no hope and been condemned to hellfire. But because Jesus died and rose three days later, we could “not perish but have everlasting life”.
So on Easter Sunday we’d go hard. Everyone would wear spanking new, fancy clothes. We’d have Sunrise Service around 6am to commemorate the resurrection. After Sunrise Service we’d retire to the church basement for a grand, Southern style buffet breakfast(now THAT is something I truly miss about Easter). Later in the day, Morning Worship would be transformed as members worked themselves into an almost orgasmic frenzy. The choir would sing somber songs about the pain and torture that Jesus Christ went through on the Cross in order to save us. The whole church would be caught up in ecstasy. Men would get the “Holy Spirit” and march around the sanctuary, shouting “thank you JESUS!” Women would wave their handkerchiefs, sway, hold themselves, cry and shriek with emotion. Matter of fact Easter Sunday was the time I witnessed the most sensual behavior in church. But it was viewed as okay since the object of all this adoration was Jesus Christ, our Blessed Savior.
After the choir finished and had worked the congregation into a frenzy, the pastor would ascend to the pulpit. For a good hour or so he would go over the story in detail. By the time he reached his peak the church would be at a fever pitch once again. The invitation would go forth and a healthy number backsliders(who were only seen on Easter) would usually accept and rededicate their lives to Christ. After the benediction we’d retire to our homes, usually to enjoy a sumptuous feast with our families. To this day some of my warmest memories stem from family dinner on Easter Sunday.
But that was then, and this is now. Now Easter Sunday doesn’t seem like such a great idea. Now the story of the crucifixion isn’t something I’ll cry tears of gratitude over. No, the crucifixion story comes across as one the most ridiculous ideas that man ever came up with. Let’s look at some of the main points briefly:
- God is loving, just and merciful
- Adam and Eve disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden and sin entered the world
- There had to be a blood atonement for the sin of Adam and Eve, which has now been imputed to all of mankind(!)
- Only a perfect individual could provide this blood atonement
- Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the incarnation(WTF again) lived on earth for thirty three years
- Jesus Christ was brutally tortured and murdered for the sins of mankind
- Jesus Christ was resurrected
- Because of Jesus Christ men and women can break free from the curse of Adam and have eternal life
When I take off my blinders and look at this without the assumption that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, it doesn’t seem sensible. It sounds incredibly cruel, convoluted and unnecessary. It begs a number of questions:
- Couldn’t an All-Powerful God have worked out a better plan of salvation?
- Why couldn’t God simply forgive Adam and Eve for their sin and send mankind on its’ merry little way? Why should I, born thousands or millions of years after the fact, be held responsible for something that I didn’t do?
- Why should Jesus be punished so horribly for something that he didn’t do? Even human beings, as flawed and sinful as we supposedly are, don’t do this to each other. Yet I am supposed to believe that a Just and Merciful God approves of this?
- How can God demand his own torture and execution? If Jesus is part of the ‘Godhead'(!), God committed suicide?
Man my head hurts just thinking about all of this! The lunacy of this particular tenet is the chief reason that I cannot return to Christianity. The blinders of faith are off. The fear of eternal damnation is gone. With my mind no longer held hostage to these things, I cannot accept the concepts of original sin and the resurrection.