“Christianity is either brilliant or foolish” is the title of Free Advice blogger Robert P. Murphy’s latest post referenced in RRND.
“Here’s where we have to decide, is this brilliant or is it foolish? There’s no in between,” he writes.
Murphy recounts that when he was an atheist he thought that part of the problem with Christianity was the implausibility of the gospel accounts, but the real problem was that “it makes no sense… God is mad at humanity because two people ate an apple, but then He forgives them when they murder His innocent Son; What the heck?!”
But now that Mr. Murphy has become a believer he thinks the whole concept is “brilliant ... if you seriously entertain the notion that there is a God who loves us, and you can see with your own eyes what a bunch of scoundrels all humans are, then there is a certain beautiful logic to it, that it takes God to swoop in and save us from ourselves, through His own sacrifice.
First of all, in my own experience, I can say with absolute certainty that most human beings are not scoundrels at all – imperfect, flawed, and vulnerable, yes – but not scoundrels. Most people are good. So where is the beautiful logic that it takes an imaginary God to swoop in and save us from ourselves; and how is it that we are saved from His own sacrifice?
Humanity doesn’t need to be saved. That is a major flaw in the idea. Therefore it still doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense – except that is, within the context of just another human Authority demanding sacrifices from the faithful – which, of course, is the major purpose of all religions, and all other Authority for that matter – altruistic sacrifice.
Human sacrifice is the central lesson of Christianity and the New Testament of the Holy Bible. The crucifixion and the cross are powerful symbols of human sacrifice. Jesus taught and demanded self denial and sacrifice from all his followers. Good Christians are supposed to be sacrificial beings.
The idea is that, if God, the Supreme Being, is willing to sacrifice his only son, and if Christ His son is willing to make that ultimate sacrifice for humanity, then surely the multitudes of lesser mortals should be willing to make sacrifices of what they hold dear for the benefit of the greater good, i.e. God.
If He can sacrifice to us then we must sacrifice to Him. That’s the message. If you sacrifice you will be saved from death. The reward for your own self denial, human sacrifice and eventual death on Earth in the manner of Jesus Christ, is eternal life in Heaven with Christ, who, together with His Father, is God.
And it works! There are now more than a billion Christian believers on the planet who fervently believe that if they sacrifice like good Christians they will not die. So I suppose one could rightfully say that it is indeed brilliant.
“But that’s the whole point of this blog post,” Murphy explains. “If there really were a God of the kind described in the Bible, His plan would be like nothing you or I would invent.”
I, on the other hand, think that the people who dreamed up Christianity were certainly not foolish by any means. They knew exactly what they were doing.
“It is undeniable that there is something incredibly powerful and compelling about the gospel stories. They have inspired some of the greatest works of art, music, and literature known to man. Then, when you begin to study them with a rational approach, at first they seem to be absurd–but the more you study them, the more sense they make… I submit that this is exactly what we would expect to observe, if the Bible were the inspired word of God,” concludes Murphy.
But Murphy overlooks the plain fact that the overall compelling urgency of Christ’s teaching was his steadfast promise that the world as we know it was coming to an end within his own generation and it was therefore crucially important for the people to get themselves right with God before the looming judgment day arrived.
You know; Jesus was just another one of those “The End is near” preachers.
And just like all the rest of them, Jesus was plainly wrong! Two millennia have passed since the stories in the Gospels were told. Thus, the prediction has proved demonstrably false. The end is not near. There has been and will never be any Kingdom of God because all gods are imaginary.
Christianity is just another Authority!