Friday, September 27, 2013

Gifts to the gods

Four individuals (a Christian, a US marine, a Jew, and a Muslim) enter a throne room where various gods sit upon their separate thrones behind a huge altar. Each man carries a dead body, recently deceased in the latest surge of numerous wars, and their job is to provide the fresh offerings to each individual’s respective god; thus, the god would provide mercury and bounty to those who worship under him. Piles of dead bodies litter over the great alter; so many, in fact, they spill over onto the floor in tremendous mounds before the altar and about the room.

The men stop in confusion and fear.

“Where do we put them?” wonders the Jew.

“I was just told to place my offering before the god with the beard,” said the Christian.

“They all have beards,” comments the Muslim.

The gods, their exchange disrupted by the approaching men, turn to frown down upon the four with ominous expressions.

“Well, what have you brought us?” questions a god, his thunderous voice booming around the enormous room.

The four men flinch. The Jew swallows hard.

“Fresh gifts,” he supplies.

The gods look over the offerings.

“More of the same,” one god mutters, turning away with disinterest.

“What do we do now?” whispers the Muslim.

“I don’t know about you guys,” says the marine “But I’m pretty sure the one over there with the white beard is Uncle Sam. I’m giving my offering to him.”

And he heads off with confidence.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Do Christians Believe They Are The Only Humans Who Deserve Good Things To Happen To Them?

God either wants to eliminate bad things and cannot, or can but does not want to, or neither wishes to nor can, or both wants to and can. If he wants to and cannot, he is weak -- and this does not apply to god. If he can but does not want to, then he is spiteful -- which is equally foreign to god's nature. If he neither wants to nor can, he is both weak and spiteful and so not a god. If he wants to and can, which is the only thing fitting for a god, where then do bad things come from? Or why does he not eliminate them?" 
-Epicurus (from "The Epicurus Reader", translated and edited by Brad Inwood and L.P. Gerson, Hackett Publishing, 1994, p. 97)

Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion - several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight.  
-Mark Twain

Do Christians believe they are the only humans who deserve good things to happen to them?

In a nutshell:  Yes.

Follow the line of thinking.

Christians believe the following:

  • ·         The god of the Christian religion is good
  • ·         The Christian god is the true god and all other gods are false gods
  • ·         God is a god of love
  • ·         God is perfect
  • ·         Satan is evil
  • ·         Satan is the cause of all bad things that happen to people (God does bring upon people bad things, he only allows Satan to sprinkle bad things upon people)

Using the above criteria, let us examine the thought-line of the Christian way of thinking.

God is a good and loving god; therefore, he wants his bounty and blessings to be bestowed upon the people of this Earth. However, there are criteria (rules) which must be followed before this great outpouring of good things can be bestowed upon the people of the Earth. The people of the Earth must come to the Christian god and worship him, and obey him, and keep his commandment in order to receive the good things. Then, and only then, will the good things be bestowed.

Anyone who is not in this small, select group of persons, meaning anyone who is not a Christian, anyone who follows a different god (false god according to the Christian way of thinking), or anyone who does not follow any god, will not receive the bounty of good things. Why should they? They are not Christian and therefore will not be blessed.

Now God, being a good and loving god, does not bring harm to the people of the world. Satan does that. God, however, does not stop Satan; he allows Satan to bring bad things. Bad things are famine, disease, poverty, etc.

Why does God allow Satan to bring bad things?

Only Christians (those who worship the Christian god and who are faithfully following his rules) are under the umbrella of God’s protection. All others Satan can rain harm upon at will.

Furthermore, God will allow Satan to rain harm upon any Christian who is allowing sin or evil into his or her life. This is the punishment for not obeying, but if the Christian is willing to run back to God and beg and worship and promise to be good, God (because he is so good and loving) will bring that individual back under his umbrella of bounty and protection. 

Following this line of thinking, we now understand God chooses those who are blessed with good things and those who are not, either by providing protection and provisions or by standing aside and doing nothing so Satan can bring about bad things.

Since God is perfect, and and therefore cannot make mistakes, Christians must make the logical assumption that anyone who has good things happen to them deserve (it is justified) to have good things happen to them (because God has chosen and since he is perfect, he cannot be wrong). Those who have bad things happen to them deserve to have bad things happen to them because God has chosen to allow Satan to bring bad things upon them. God has decided.

To think otherwise (to think no human deserves to have bad things happen to him or her) would be disloyal to God; this line of thinking mean disagreeing with a decision of God, which would be disobedience against God.

Therefore, Christians, in order to stay in-line with the Christian line of thinking, must believe that those who remain faithful to the Christian god merit having good things happen to them. The flip side of this line of thinking is that anyone who does not faithfully follow the Christian god deserves to have bad things happen to him or her. This is because everyone else is either an individual following a false god, an individual following no god, or an individual who is a Christian but is not faithful, and, therefore, does not warrant protection or provisions by the Christian God.

That is why Christians, when faced with a bad thing happening to another, will shrug their shoulders and say, “It is God’s will.” They are following the Christian line of thinking that the individual merited the bad thing happening to them or God would not have let the bad thing happen, or, for some unknown reason, their god chose to let the bad thing happen, which is God’s will also.

Do not confuse desire with deserve. Christians do not necessarily desire bad things to happen to everyone else but themselves, but they feel bad things happening to everyone else other than their small group is an inevitability.  It is bound to happen. Christians are taught to desire for everyone to join their god under his umbrella and thereby share in the goodness and protection the Christian god will afford all those who worship and obey him. However, for any who does not choose to follow the Christian god, well, it is to be expected that bad things will happen to that person.

When the belief that only faithful Christians deserve to receive the blessings and protection of the Christian god is coupled with the mentality of the inevitability of bad things happening to all those who are not faithful Christians, the Christian attitude becomes elitism toward themselves (they are under their god’s protection  and therefore deserve good things to happen to them) and indifference and fatalism towards the fate of all other human (an acceptance of the predetermined and inevitable certainty that bad things will happen to everyone other than themselves).

When we apply this line of thinking to the current world situation, it becomes understandable how those who follow the Christian god can justify brutalities inflicted upon others. These others (non-Christians, followers of false gods, those who believe in no god) do not warrant protection under the umbrella of the Christian god, therefore it is justified to have Satan rain bad things down upon them including bad things occurring at the hands of another human. To the Christian line of thinking, since this is God’s right and acceptable way, Christians should be unconcerned about the suffering of these individuals because anything but indifference would be an indication of disagreement with the perfect way of their god.

A Christian, faced with the dilemma of confronting a human who is not a Christian and who suffers from an affliction caused by Satan, must fight the inner battle of deciding whether to approach the person as a Christian with the attitude that the individual brought on the affliction by turning away from God and consequently was not provided with protection, or whether to approach the individual as a fellow human being with the attitude that no human deserves to to have bad things happen to them.