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Christianity, Religion, Theist Wackiness

The Story of Easter, Updated for 21st Century Readers

The Plan, Part 1:  In the Beginning

Approximately six thousand years ago, a magical being called “God” set a plan into motion.  He’d been waiting and doing very little for several googols of googols of years, so this was a very important time.  All that brain power had just been sitting around, formulating the most perfect and holy way to do the most beautiful and loving thing ever done in the history of the universe.  (Of course, since nothing had ever been done in the universe, the bar wasn’t set very high, but I digress.)

God began by creating everything that we can see, and a lot more things that we cannot see.  The universe is extraordinarily immense.  If it were 95% smaller than it is, it would still be immense.  It’s so huge that it’s really hard for us to imagine just how huge it is.  It’s so huge that there’s no way for us to even imagine seeing everything in our own galaxy, much less ever making it to even one of the billions of other galaxies to see even one thing.

In one tiny corner of the universe, God made a planet and called it “Earth.”  It’s a small planet, as planets go, but it’s perfect for humans.  You see, God had made the whole universe for humans.  Oh, he could have made the universe quite small, since the physical laws he created would prevent humans from ever seeing virtually any of the universe beyond earth’s solar system firsthand.  He could have just made it big enough for earth, but that wouldn’t do.  He wanted the humans to know just how incredibly powerful he was, so he made a universe so large that when people discovered its true size, they’d stop and say, “Wow.  God is really friggin’ powerful.  You know?  Like… he made all of this for us.”

God, in his infinite mercy and wisdom, decided trillions and trillions of years ago that he wasn’t going to just parade himself in front of humans like some pompous dictator.  No.  God revealed himself to people through mysteries, puzzles, and downright trickery.  To begin with, he didn’t give humans any kind of a user’s manual.  He just left them on earth without any knowledge of… well… anything.  He wanted them to figure out things for themselves.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

To begin with, there weren’t a lot of humans.  There were only two — Adam and Eve.  God knew that Adam and Eve were cheeky little bastards, and prone to gullibility.  So he put them in a magical garden with a talking snake and a magic tree.  He only told them one thing — “Don’t eat the fruit from that tree.  Even though it’s really pretty, and looks like it would be awesome… and even though I put it right there in the center where you have to look at it all the time and think… wow… that would be awesome…”

The talking snake was evil.  God knew that, but he put the snake in the garden anyway, because it was all part of the most perfect loving plan ever conceived in the whole universe.  In due time, the snake played his part and told the woman that she ought to eat the fruit.  Being gullible and having no knowledge of good and evil, she said, “What the hell.”  (Ironic, don’t you think?)

So God got his panties in a bunch about that act of civil disobedience and kicked Adam and Eve out of the magic garden.  He was particularly mad at Eve, so he cursed every human being that would ever live — billions and billions of them — with aging and death.  Because women are nasty and evil, he put an especially bad curse on them.  He made it so that their vaginas would get badly torn up when they had children, and some of the unluckiest ones would die because their birth canals and other internal plumbing simply weren’t designed well enough to let babies pass through without incident.

And this was all part of the most loving and wonderful thing that had ever been done in the universe.  Just wait.  It’ll all make sense later.  (God’s very smart that way.)

The Plan, Part 2: Dead Bulls

After cursing the man and the woman for being the way they were made, God set the next part of the plan in motion.  He continued to ignore 95% of the earth’s population because he didn’t care about them yet.   (God had magically populated the whole earth in just a few years to make it look like Adam and Eve weren’t really the first humans.  This was one of God’s clever tricks.)  God really cared about this one group of people who were all descendants of a goat herder with a fetish for handmaidens.   He showed them how much he cared by taking them out into the desert and starving them for 40 years, and giving them Ten Commandments, most of which urged them to tell God how awesome he is and not look at pictures of other gods.

During this time, God gave that tiny part of the earth’s population a way to avoid his wrath, which had proved to be considerable.  (He turned one woman into salt for the crime of catching a parting glance at her hometown, which God had just turned into a pile of nuclear rubble.)

Here’s what they needed to do.  Whenever they did something bad like touching a woman while she was menstruating, they needed to take some of what they owned and either burn it, kill it, or otherwise destroy it.  When they did this, God felt self-actualized, and managed to stave off his desire to fry them like so much wheat toast in a brick oven.

To reward his followers for sometimes killing bulls properly, he sent them into centuries of slavery at the hands of the Egyptians and Babylonians.  They were both very nasty masters, and treated God’s chosen people very poorly.

But God had a better plan, and was only using this one for a while.  Maybe it occurred to him that his loving kindness would be better served if all the people in the world knew about it.  Maybe he felt sorry for the bulls and goats.  Who can understand the mind of God?

Anyway, he sent some men called prophets to go to the big cities and shout poems.  These poems were very vague, but it was important for them to be shouted because thousands of years later, they would be proof that God knew what he was doing before he did it.   Some of the poems said things about a savior.  That was all part of the plan.  But it was also very important that these “prophecies” were not clear enough for everyone to agree on what they meant.  So some people expected a ruler and conquering hero as a savior.  But that’s not what God was going to give them.  Because he loved them, and knew that there were going to be plenty of gas chambers and persecution to come.  (Seriously… hang with me.   This is all going to make sense later.)

For several centuries, God made his favorite people wait while they built pyramids for the evil Egyptians, and toiled away for those nasty Babylonians.  Very soon, his super-awesome plan for the most loving thing ever done in the entire universe would come to fruition…

Getting Himself Killed

All the pieces of the puzzle were in place, and God was happy.

  1. Create enormous universe for humans… check.
  2. Man, woman, talking snake, tree with evil fruit… check.
  3. Chosen people… check.
  4. Slaughtered goats, burnt wheat, no touchy the vagina blood… check.
  5. Centuries of slavery and captivity under evil “not the real god” worshipers… check.
  6. Crazed prophets giving everybody the wrong idea about the savior… check.

Yes.  Things were falling into place just as he knew they would.  It was time for the cleverest thing anyone had ever done.  When the time was right,  God split himself into three pieces, but by using god-magic, he made it so that he really wasn’t three pieces.  He was one.  But three.  All at the same time.  And through the magic of being himself, he also made it so that he had always been that way, even though he hadn’t always been that way.  (It’s nice to be God.)

Next, he decided to call himself his own son, even though there was only one God, and no Goddess for him to have sex with.  Maybe it was because he liked sex so much he thought it would be nice to imagine having it, since he could never have it himself… unless it was with himself, which wouldn’t be sex, but masturbation.  Anyway, it’s impossible to know the mind of God, so we can only imagine why he used a term that didn’t apply to himself.  He’s God, so he can do what he wants, and it is good and holy.

When the time was right, God magically teleported to earth and went into the uterus of a young woman named Mary, who might never have had sex, but also might have, and might have just been known as a “young woman.”  Or a prostitute.  We can’t really tell these days because God knew (in his ultimate loving wisdom) that for his plan to work perfectly, no original copies of his holiest of holy books could survive long enough for anyone to know what they really said.  And sometimes words have different meanings.  But I digress.

God spent the normal nine months as a fetus in Mary’s uterus, and then came into the world very unceremoniously, being deposited in a hay trough, since neither Mary nor her long-suffering husband, Joseph, could afford proper lodging.  You see, God knew that it was very important for him to go through all the motions of being poor and outcast, even though he could have saved a lot of trouble for a lot of people by coming out of Mary’s vagina holding a magical pot of endless gold and a vial of endless cancer preventer medicine.

Instead, God — the part of him that was still in heaven, not the part laying about in afterbirth — told one of his magical servants to go fly down to some rich men and send them traipsing across the desert with gold, frankincense, and myrrh to give the little baby.  He also had another magical servant tell some herdsmen to go look at the baby.  It was all very pretty, and God knew that it was important to do these things so that in another two thousand years, Hallmark wouldn’t have to recall several million nativity sets for lack of historical accuracy.

After the birthing was over, God, who was now known as Jesus, did regular human things until he got to be thirty years old, at which time he got twelve men together and went about performing god-magic and generally upsetting the status quo.

Remember that part of God’s magnificent plan involved giving lots of people the wrong idea about what the savior would be like.  He needed to do this because it was very important that the Hebrews (or Jews, if you prefer), would do the most loving thing possible and kill the God who had bestowed so much loving and mercy on them for the past several hundred years of slavery and desert wandering.  (I know… it sounds odd, but it will all make sense in the end.  I promise.)

So Jesus, (or God, if you prefer) spent three years upsetting the Jewish holy men, who were still under the impression that God was in his Goat Blood Fetish Stage.  You see, God was not really into memos.  He  always preferred telling the most important things in the universe to prophets and preachers, who then told everybody else.  Perhaps he thought it garish to just tell everybody plainly what he wanted.  Perhaps it amused him to watch such a small percentage of the human population cause so much confusion for so many people.  Who can know the mind of God?  In any case, the holy men had had it up to here and took advantage of a legal loophole in the Roman justice system.  They convinced Pontius Pilate, who honestly didn’t give a rat’s ass, into ordering Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion.

This was just what Jesus wanted to happen, but it was still pretty upsetting because being crucified hurts very badly.  So Jesus made a big show of  being distraught, and performed one last magic trick which consisted of reading the mind of Judas, who was fed up with the whole affair and was planning on turning state’s evidence.   Then he went up to a hill where he knew the feds were waiting for him.

The whole crucifixion thing took quite a while, and was very gruesome.  The Romans who were in charge of killing God were well versed in the art of making the experience as painful as possible.  They spit on him, gave him vinegar to drink, skewered him like a piglet, and made light of his political misdeeds. When the whole thing was over, several concerned fans took his body and put it in a small cave, then sealed the door with a big rock.

Everybody thought that was the end of it, but there was much more ahead. Much, much more.

What was God to do now?  For the last seventy trillion years, he’d been thinking.  Thinking.  Thinking.  There wasn’t really much else to do.  He hadn’t invented time and space yet, so it didn’t feel like it had been all that long, but it had.  And the question that had been burning in his mind for at least 69.475 trillion years was this:

“After I piss off the religious leadership of my enslaved chosen people and get myself killed at the hands of a minor Roman bureaucrat, how will I then inspire and command the love and worship of billions of humans who will inhabit the earth for the next two thousand years?”

The answer was simple and obvious.  Here’s what he did.

The Transformation

For three days, Jesus lay dead in the cave.  Well, he wasn’t really dead since God can’t die.  He doesn’t have a heart or lungs or anything like that, and you have to have something living to be able to die.  But the part of him that was temporarily very much like a human wasn’t alive.  It was just laying there, but not decomposing, because that would be gross.  You’ll see why in just a second.

After three days, Jesus decided he was tired of being dead so he got up and left.  (See?!  If God had let himself decompose, everyone would have thought he was a zombie, and would have swung shovels at his face.)  On his way out, he showed himself to a hooker with a foot fetish.  This was the highlight of her morning, and she ran into town to tell everybody that she’d just been with Jesus.  Several of the townsfolk thought it daft that she was trying to wring a shekel out of a dead guy, but they averred that as long as she didn’t start bringing corpses to the Monday afternoon massage session, things would be ok.

For several days, Jesus went about the land appearing and disappearing.  He also got a good poke in the side from a guy named Thomas who had a hard time believing in walking stiffs.  To reward the doubter for his skepticism, Jesus made sure his book didn’t get published.

When he was done with his little lark about town, Jesus got together with a couple of his best friends from back in the Goat Fetish Days, had a chat on top of a hill, and then used god-magic to levitate up into the sky.  It was a very neat trick, and gave a lot of people the idea that heaven was in the sky, but it’s not.  Once you get out of the earth’s atmosphere, it’s not very heavenly at all.

The Book

And that’s the story of how God did the most amazing and loving thing in the history of the universe.  But that’s not the end of the Easter story.  Actually, there’s much more.  Here’s what happened.

Jesus knew that killing goats and bulls would get to be really troublesome when the earth’s population grew to six billion.  There’s just no way to dispose of that much dead meat in a sanitary way, especially when Indians won’t eat cow meat.  (One has to wonder why God let them get so caught up in the whole cow worship thing if he was going to need people to eat so many burgers, but God’s ways are not our ways, and it isn’t good to try to reason these things out.)

Anyway, God had already worked all of this out nine trillion trillion trillion years before.  The whole reason he paraded around as a human was so that he could take the place of a billion billion farm animals.  Since he made the rules in the first place, it was no big deal for him to make the following proclamation:

“I sacrificed myself to myself in order that you don’t have to sacrifice goats and bulls to me anymore.  I don’t want any more dead animals on my front steps.  Understand?”

Because he was God, he left a symbolic reminder to all the people of the world so they would remember the time when it was appropriate to decapitate animals and leave them on the front steps of the temple to appease the overlord.  The symbolic reminder is known as a “house cat.”  But I digress.

Anyway, sacrificing himself to himself to stop all the bull sacrificing was not the full extent of “The Most Loving and Wonderful Thing Anyone Has Ever Done.”  No, not indeed.  We should think God to be quite dull if that had been the only thing.   God wanted everyone who ever lived to know what he had done, and to believe he had done it.  After all, if a trillion humans never heard about The Most Loving and Wonderful Thing Anyone Has Ever Done, what was the point in doing it in the first place?

So God waited thirty or so years and then told a fledgling scribe to write down the story of his life.  Then he waited another couple of decades and told a couple more beat writers to copy that book, but to add some important details that had been left out.  He also found a government flunky and told him to write down all the stuff about how churches ought to be run, and how women ought not say very much in church.

There wasn’t much in the way of printing presses in those days, and UPS wasn’t shipping worldwide.  God wasn’t about to break the Prime Directive and introduce such dangerous technology to the Romulans… err… Romans.  Instead, he decided that he would let things simmer for three hundred years.  Better to spread the word of his deeds orally.  After all, that’s the best way to make sure things don’t get muddled.

And that’s exactly what his followers did.  It worked like a charm.  Three hundred years later, Rome got on board with the program.  Within a thousand years, most of Europe had heard all about it.

(It’s always best to take one’s time when doing something this important.  And really, there wasn’t much of a rush.  Those damnable Asians hadn’t been sacrificing bulls to him at all, and there weren’t even boats seaworthy enough to get to the Aztecs to tell them they ought to be sacrificing bulls instead of enemy warriors.  All those people could wait.)

Johannes Gutenberg finally figured out how to print lots of copies of the same book about fourteen hundred years later.  That was all God had been waiting for.  (Well… that and the internet, but that would come much later.)  Since God gave himself his first mass distribution deal, six hundred years have passed since then, and there’s only one major continent where most people haven’t got Bibles in all the hotel rooms.

The Magic of Faith

As you’ve probably already gathered, God is very fond of using god-magic.  It makes a lot of sense if you think about it.  If he didn’t use god-magic, and just obeyed the laws he’d created, he wouldn’t be much of a god, would he?  Well, if that makes sense to you, then this is where things really start to get good.

God wanted everyone on the whole planet to hear about what he’d done, and believe that he’d done it.  But it was also very important to him that people also believe in his god-magic.  Even more important, he didn’t want anybody to be forced into believing.  So he made sure there were lots of chances for people not to believe.

To start with, he planted lots of rocks that look like animals.  He planted them all over the world.  Some of them he put in mountains, and some in riverbeds.  He knew that these rocks would fool the smartest people in the world into thinking the earth was really billions and billions of years old.

Next, he made a very, very small thing called DNA and put it in every living thing on the planet.  He also put little atomic clocks in the DNA and set them wrong so that it would look very much like DNA was older than the earth.  What a clever trick!

Finally… and this is the best trick of all… he stopped doing magic except for very rare circumstances when there would be no way for anybody to prove it.

Now, everything was in place.  God told all of his followers to make very tall steeples and put them on top of churches, and to tell everyone the good news:  ”Believe that God sacrificed himself to himself so that you don’t have to leave dead bulls on our doorsteps!  If you do this, you will go to a happy place when you die.  If you don’t, you’ll experience the love of the most merciful and loving being in the universe while roasting on a spit in the most horrific torture chamber ever invented… FOREVER!”

The Chosen People

God had a special plan in mind for his chosen people that he loved more than anyone else on earth.  First, he took away their country and didn’t give it back to them for almost two thousand years.  Second, he made sure that everyone on earth hated them more than anyone else, so much so that one of God’s special servants, Adolph Hitler, did them the favor of killing at least six million of them.

He also made sure that a whole new religion would start up in the same part of the world, and that its followers would hate the Jews so much that they would blow themselves up anytime they could take a few Jews with them.  But God knew that there would be a country called America, and that a protector would emerge from the ranks of the Christians to protect the chosen people.  That man was John Ashcroft, and even to this day, he works to demonstrate the love of God for his chosen people by trying to start World War III.

Bunnies and Eggs

Since God is very fond of holidays, he also told his followers:  ”Celebrate my wonderful deeds with colorful eggs and bunnies.  Give chocolate to the children, and warn them against believing in animal shaped rocks.  That way, your children won’t spend eighty trillion years in a torture chamber with worms made of fire crawling in and out of their eyesockets!”

Oh, and he said one other thing, too.  He had omitted this from his holy book, but it was ok because it wouldn’t be important until the French invented Mardi Gras in Mobile, Alabama.  Why did the Jews need to know about Mobile?  (God is always thinking ahead.)  Anyway, God said, “Also, in addition to celebrating with bunnies and eggs, I want you to call the forty days before my holiday ‘Lent.’  During Lent, I want you to give up something you like so that you will remember how much I love you.  Also, it’s ok for you to have a big naked orgy the day before Lent.”

And that is the story of how God did The Most Loving and Wonderful Thing That Anyone Has Ever Done in the History of the Universe.  Today, we have the privilege of believing that God did all of that stuff for us so that we wouldn’t have to kill bulls.  And believe me, if you’ve never killed a bull before, it’s remarkably difficult.  Without proper equipment, it’s almost impossible.  I mean, have you ever seen a bull fight?  You can stick those damnable creatures with dozens of spears and it just makes them mad.

So when you’re breaking out the Paas Easter Egg kit this Easter, remember to say a magic chant to Jesus and thank him for letting you color eggs instead of killing bulls.  Or goats.  And remember to tell your children how much God loves them, because if you don’t, they will BURN IN HELL FOR A BILLION BILLION YEARS AND WON’T YOU BE SORRY THEN!!!!!

The End



23 thoughts on “The Story of Easter, Updated for 21st Century Readers

  1. this is crazy funny! i would post it on my wall but then all my christian friends would unfriend me. they don’t want to read heathen stuff.

    Posted by marcia | April 4, 2012, 2:53 pm
  2. I…. can’t… stop… laughing….

    Posted by jeffreyhamby | April 4, 2012, 4:15 pm
  3. AWESOME! Thank you!

    Posted by dustylady1 | April 4, 2012, 5:44 pm
  4. “We appove of this message and offer atheism as a much better way to live”- J. Stalin and C. Mao

    Posted by PG | April 4, 2012, 10:41 pm
  5. As a Christian I read hearing the cynic tell some of the truth with enough holes and misdirection to see with some saddness that the core of the God story is missed. I was taught God is Love. We all experience Love in some form sometime in our lives and recognize the difference between Love and false love. Human wisdom and logic which much of this writing I’m commenting on is well thought out in it’s attack on some people’s beliefs. To those who read with a world focus may even be misled because of its approach. Jesus speaking to his disciples at the “Last Supper” St. John’s Gospel tells them people will not take them or Him seriously and that some will attack and even kill them as was about to happen to Him. (Yes the article points out one can’t kill God we’re talking about the mystery of Jesus being both man and God which has something to do with that God wisdom and God logic that the article attempts to take the mickey out of. The Human aspect of Jesus could die. The part that exists in the temporary world that we are currently interacting in.) It misses that our understanding of life in this world is as messed up as is this story we’ve just written. Jesus was helping his disciples understand that although the physical world may die away Love goes on. It is bigger than any temporary vision we might put our faith in. Here’s were free will comes in. It isn’t to do with choice of actions like eating meat or eating vegies or both. It is about the daily and momentary choice to choose to act consciously from Love or to choose our personal fears and habits that are protective of the temporary. As for there not being a clear guide book. I’d argue that if one took the time to listen to one’s own arguements in silence and the energy it projects. Truth is written in the heart and one knows when one is loving or not loving. If Jesus is true then I’m sure He Loves the author in spite of the attack that pushes the temporary world mind set.

    Posted by Frank Corless | April 6, 2012, 2:16 am
  6. Thank you so much, Frank! I appreciate you taking the time to give us an opportunity to see how you Christian types try to rationalize this bizarre and horrific story.

    Rather than refute your explanation, which I believe would give it the unwarranted impression of credibility, I will let it stand without further comment so that my readers can marvel in its absurdity.

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | April 6, 2012, 2:23 pm
  7. Best Easter story ever!

    Posted by sabbysu | April 7, 2012, 12:45 am
  8. OK now can you tell us what really happened? You know, how there was nothing but a whole bunch of stuff came from nothing, even thought that can’t really happen. And then out of the make believe stuff that came from nothing a monkey appeared. Then one day the monkey left a shit and you crawled out from it and claimed you came from a monkey. The monkey got word of it and kicked your candy ass. Then you called the police to press charges against the monkey for kicking your candy ass. But the police said shut up you stupid liar. Don’t bother us anymore. Go make up some more lies and put them on a website but just leave us alone. So then you smoked a bunch of dope, realized that dope was named after you and you then changed your name to dope. Oh hang on a second. I guess you don’t have to tell us because I just did. I bet you don’t have the balls to leave this post for others to read!

    Posted by kent lang | April 7, 2012, 3:41 am
  9. Hey Frank! Here are some quick tips when talking to atheists on the internet:

    1) Type in paragraphs. Did you know that there is a special key on your keyboard called Enter, or Return? If you press this key in a text field it will actually put your next thought on a new line!

    2) Use proper sentence structure. Believe it or not, no other human being has a direct telepathic link to your brain stem and cannot read your mind! When articulating your thoughts, remember that an English sentence is generally composed of one noun and one verb. Compound and complex sentences can be tricky, so consult a grammar book or online sources for help.

    3) Don’t argue with scripture. Most atheists who post in places like here were once Christians too, and have actually read the ENTIRE Bible (sometimes as in my case, more than once). Trying to persuade an atheist with scripture is like trying to persuade a woman to sleep with you by showing her your STD positive papers. I trust you’re a smart enough man to figure that one out.

    BONUS TIP: Sometimes it’s actually okay to step back, take a breather and admit that you don’t have an answer for something you believe in that goes against all reason. Questioning everything you believe on a daily basis is a healthy and intelligent process!

    Posted by zachwulf2 | April 7, 2012, 4:11 am
  10. Gee,
    I wonder why the atheist author left out the part where all the atheists go to hell and their only source of food will be having to pick the corn kernals out of the christians morning dump. Thats funny too. I know I cant stop laughing at that one either..

    Posted by PG | April 7, 2012, 1:17 pm
  11. i also wonder why the atheist author also didnt write about how god says all atheists are scumbags, and now even today atheists are considered less trustworthy than rapists, and as a result are outcasts living in a religious world. Thats so funny! I cant stop laughing, its soooo funny!

    Posted by PG | April 7, 2012, 1:27 pm
  12. This story is not funny!
    This story is TRUE!

    Don’t even bother to defend your vicious, vile and evil superstition. This is the 21st century. We don’t buy the spooky kiddy tales anymore.

    Posted by Achim Steigert | April 8, 2012, 5:03 am
  13. @ PG…. so that’s how a loving God behaves is it? Hmmm, nice! He certainly made you in his image.

    Posted by LizzieS | April 8, 2012, 6:22 am
  14. PG, you are missing the point, I’m afraid…. We atheists dont belive in your gods, or your demons, or your lovingly created torture chamber for the afterlife which we dont believe in either. Its all just a human mind control invention. Atheists choose rationality, reason and compassion over hate, distrust and faith. I am proud to be an atheist and we certainly dont live as outcasts in a religious world. It may surprise you to know that there are over a billion atheists on earth. Most thinking people (scientists and other intelligent educated individuals) have seen through the delusion of religion and choose to live without it.

    I am PROUD to be an atheist!

    Posted by cathywagnerblog | April 10, 2012, 12:07 am
  15. @Cathy. Yeah, at your atheist all world reason rally that promoted as the largest gathering ever of atheists was attended by less people than one would find at just one mega church sunday picnic!

    In addition, your high priest Dawkins preached Atheists to publicly mock and ridicule all believers, while the attendees wore T-Shirts that deplicted “Too many Christians, not enough lions! Yeah, thats being rational, reasonable, and compassionate!

    Yeah, most of your billions of atheists are in China, that wonderful utopian society of atheists that still smashes newborn baby girls heads against the wall and commit major human rights atrocities

    And what you didnt state is that according to Pew research, the majority of scientists today do believe in a higher power!

    Yeah, those are great reasons for you to be a proud atheist!!

    Posted by PG | April 12, 2012, 12:08 pm
  16. So, I am really just curious here– am not a theologian and mean this in the spirit of conversation. As a political progressive/socialist in the south, a “Blue (or maybe UV) Dot in a Sea of Red”, it seems increasingly apparent to me that the hardline conservatives among us are not going to vanish into the Rapture any time soon. If we cannot figure out some way to communicate more effectively with them, I don’t see much hope. I don’t know how it can be done, unfortunately. I’ve had the same thought about religion and actually hoped it might be a better starting place for finding common ground than politics, which without religion still easily sorts itself into Ayn Rand vs the rest of us.

    When I read blogs like yours, as much as I enjoy the lovely snarkiness, I worry there isn’t hope of common ground here either. I’m a non-theist Christian (or atheist Christian if you prefer). I believe in nothing supernatural whatsoever– I do believe that sometimes great truths come in the form of metaphor/symbol and even that parts of our brains don’t know how to understand and digest something without meeting it as a poem or a story. .I am willing to consider that may be my experience because my brain is more primitive than someone’s who doesn’t need metaphor– maybe I am less evolved. But if so, I’m not the only one of my kind, and I’m not expecting to be Raptured away either. So wouldn’t it be more productive to try and understand each other better?

    I understand that many atheists believe “progressive Christianity” is silly and that we should let this religion just die out– start over if we want something with metaphors, because the old religion has been irretrievably ruined. I can see that angle, but here’s the thing– the same problem would happen again. We’d come up with some great story and eventually some people would take it literally and use it to beat others over the head with. So don’t have any religion at all– substitute with poetry, art, etc? Maybe– but I don’t think religion is the real source of war/ aggression. It is just an excuse. If we didn’t have it, we’d fight just as hard over money and power. It’s just like with babies– parents blame every symptom on teething, because they’re always teething. Even more likely, it is just part of our evolved nature to create systems of religion, so trying to get rid of them is futile– cutting off Hydra heads.

    I have thought that working within Christianity to fully develop it might be more fruitful– it is still a very young religion, really. It is certainly in danger of turning into vinegar, but with some coaxing it might become mature. It seems to me there is still enough in it worth salvaging and even that it might be safer to do so than to have to go through the toddlerhood and teen centuries of yet another one.

    The summary message you’ve posted in several blogs, starting with God making the world, etc, then the punishment/ reward finish– that isn’t close to what I personally see as central. I know you can find those things in the Bible, but since humans wrote it, you can find a lot of crazy stuff in there.

    Here’s a general interpretation, among many possible ones: Relationships continuously create the world, both in the form of matter/energy acting on other matter/energy (such as with gravity) and between living/ biological beings– it is the “between” of those relationships that holds everything together (compatible with physics, sociology, etc). Consciously experiencing the enormity and power of this web of relationships can be overwhelming– so much our minds have trouble getting around it and we experience intense moments of awe and connection hard to subjectively describe. If a person were able to constantly be aware of this connectedness, it would be a kind of enlightenment– such a person might be inspired to stand up to power and speak the truth, and urge us to treat each other as beloved. A person like that might believe this message was so important that he would not stop saying it, even if that led to his death. He would know that even though our bodies die, the actions and words we put forth in our lives have consequences that ripple on forever– he would recognize that he participates in creation. When we discover a person like that, we are drawn to him/her and recognize that same spark of truth in ourselves, so that our friend lives on in our hearts. Our reward, heaven, is in the moments of this life when we experience and give love, and after our deaths our past actions indelibly contribute towards “heaven” (or sadly, hell) for generations to come.

    There is no reason the same message can’t be framed without a Christian metaphor or any religious metaphor. But wise use of that metaphor might be the best way to speak to some humans who will not likely understand otherwise. I would be very interested in your response.

    Posted by Pippa Abston MD, PhD, FAAP | April 16, 2012, 11:11 pm
  17. @angry christian

    You mean you heard the speech Dawkins gave in Australia ? I missed it. Was it any good ?

    As for the millions of unwanted Chinese girls, did they get murdered in the name of atheism ?

    And would this be the Pew research you’re referring to ?

    Posted by anonymouse | April 17, 2012, 11:25 am
  18. I’ve written at some length on liberal Christianity and the Bible as metaphor. The very, very short version goes like this: I don’t believe there’s anything of metaphorical value in the Bible that can’t be got from much better sources. More than that, I believe that it is extraordinarily difficult to come up with good moral metaphors for most of the stories, or even the central message of Christianity (literal or not) itself.

    Here are several links which I believe will at least get you familiar with my position. Please feel free to contact me again if you have more questions for me. I think you’ll find that though I do occasionally pull out the snark, especially for absurd beliefs, I’m a teddy bear when it comes to genuine people with good intentions.

    Now… if you don’t read any of those, read this one, because it deals more directly with what I believe you are trying to do: find moral metaphors that make your life more meaningful and encourage you to act more morally.

    As for your interpretation… First, I’m familiar with the Bible, and I find that interpretation suspect, in the same way as the example I gave in the last link. The Bible is a contextual (if cobbled) document that was put together for specific purposes by men with a particular vision. I find your interpretation to defy the context of the Bible in most every way. Of course… it’s a nice way of looking at life. Nothing horribly wrong with it. But why not get it from a book that doesn’t explicitly encourage much less benevolent metaphors?

    Posted by Living Life Without a Net | April 18, 2012, 11:54 am
  19. I apologize for not writing in a concrete way using paragraphs and such. It is a challenge for my right brained inclination to write that way. I recognize it’s weakness when it comes to communication. I accept that what I share is hard to believe especially by those rooted in the so called concrete world perception that like to touch and feel and taste before believing. I know I can’t give you my experiences only witness that there is a reality for me that goes beyond the concrete.

    About the future and these two views growing together or not perhaps the following link may at least give some thought.

    A final thought as a Christian who see’s God revealing self to mankind according to the stage of their development I don’t hold to God being vengeful although it is true the Old Testemant gives that view which is an earlier stage in the story for people needing vengence. We create our own out comes by accepting or not accepting that there may be a point to the story as written in Scripture that can help one and help others.. It has helped develop Francis of Assisi, John of God (father of modern hospitals) and Mother Theresa of Calcutta. I’m not claiming exclusivity here only that those truely open to the message and really get it seem to bring something to the world.

    Posted by Frank Corless | May 6, 2012, 2:09 am
  20. If God is not real and the Bible is just a collection of fairy tales, why waste so much time discussing it? If Heaven does not exist, if hell does not exist why spend so much time on the subject? If the whole universe has no meaning we should have never found out. It seems silly to stand firm in the belief of nothing. The reason I believe in Christianity is simple. I know I am a sinner and I know I am going to die. Death is the only guarantee any one of us have in this world. Nothing else is more certain. 100% of everyone will one day die.

    This leads me to believe that where I am now is temporary. If so isn’t it important to make plans for my afterlife, especially considering that I may be entering this afterlife at anytime? Tomorrow is not guaranteed to anyone. I must admit, your blog did make me giggle a few times and you are certainly a talented writer but you seemed to miss the point in some of those Biblical stories. The whole point of it all is that God is all Holy and we are his creation. We have free will to do as we choose on this earth but there are consequences. The only way out of those consequences according to the Bible is faith in Jesus Christ. I believe there is something about faith that cannot be fully understood due to the limitations of our senses in the physical realm. For whatever reason God calls us to believe in things we have not seen physically which leads me to believe that the spiritual side of man must be far more powerful and real than what we can even imagine.

    As I stated before, the Bible teaches about consequences for sin. If hell is real, which I believe it is, wouldn’t it be something we would want to avoid? If Christianity is real one day we will awaken from the reality we know as our physical life and stand before an all Holy God to give an account for how we lived our lives. Every split second of our lifespan in this thing we call time and space will be judged by an all Holy and just God and there will be no where to run or hide. I believe hell will be perfect justice for every sin committed, so perfect that even the Devil himself will feel his sentence to be fair.

    Doesn’t it seem logical to believe that life in and of itself is a gift and that the consequences of squandering said gift could have eternal consequences. Does not the reality of good and evil not point to the reality of a God? I’m sure you’ve already heard all of these arguments before and that none of this is new. If anything just think about these things and truly consider your stance on faith. To me it is the only logical choice. For over 2000 years Jesus is still worshiped throughout the world. That has got to mean something.

    I just happened upon your blog by accident. I had no intention of writing all this but I felt compelled to do so. Like you, I’m just a human being searching for answers in this universe attempting to use logic to come to reasonable conclusions. I choose faith.

    Posted by Benji | June 5, 2012, 9:58 pm
  21. I’ve returned again to share a bit more. Today is the day in the Catholic Church calender that is set aside to remember St. Stephen the first Christian Martyr. My witnessing here although appears to be fruitless to those on the side of atheism miss my reason for posting too. I don’t come from great skill with manipulating words using grammar correctly. I come from a life lived at times with God and at other times without. The without times were of my making and although living in the world and gaining worldly things only found in my deepest self fear, and sorrow and a recognition of a lot of self justification of my egotistical ways. With God though I find a growing ever deeper peace inside as I become more what I believe my true self.

    Human logic cannot explain what you seem to call jokingly God magic yet do not understand that man’s science is still discovering the rules God set down and abides by. C.S. Lewis in one of his Narnia stories comes to grips with this when Aslan suddenly appears at one of the children having recited a spell to make the invisible, visible. It is a metaphor.

    My point is I am here to attempt to witness to my truth and although you have made fun of my belief I do not condemn you or attempt to call you names for in my journey God has taught me that He created you and loves you even though you use your free will to openly deny him. His love is always there and it is my hope that Love will get through some day. I would suspect you are not ready though and accept any other forms of derision you may wish to offer for I turn them over to that God you do not accept knowing others may judge me harshly for having such beliefs. I fear that not because with God I always find a blessing.

    Posted by Frank Corless | December 26, 2012, 2:47 am
  22. What if now…just what if…there was this ONE speck…that contained all that we know…plus all we will know…for simplicity…let’s put it in a rolling ball…revolving…evolving…moving on this path…as for humankind…we are a twined female/male…for some reason unknown as yet to us we split…yet still with all we know in this ball…plus all we will know…a child unites with us us a ‘more’ quality…on both parent sides back to the beginning…plus this ‘more’…the reason for our being…without the push & pull movement of this child the ball will not continue…so together with the love flowing…from all we know in the ball…plus all we will know…for we are not alone in this evolving process…our present path depends on our understanding & care of all that we know…plus all we will know. The answers we seek for further clarification will come when we understand that we are all ONE…when we understand that there is only the NOW…we were in the beginning…and we will be in the future…so we never die…we go on in the ONE…nothing to fear…at present we are…again for simplicity for there is no time…in this ‘middle’ time…a learning period…whether we see any progress is totally up to all that we know…plus all we know.

    Posted by Grandma Sally Berkley | March 31, 2013, 7:53 pm
  23. sally your on the right track. One of the things I’ve found many of those who call themselves atheist who don’t believe in God still believe in love in some form or another. This makes them more agnostic than atheist in that one of the core Christian concepts of God is that “God is Love” The search for what is real Love, true love takes on many perceptions but those who seem to find more heaven on Earth and less Hell seem to understand this unity in Love that joins rather than separates.

    Posted by Frank Corless | July 11, 2013, 6:13 pm

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