Consider Christianity. A world-wide belief system, two thousand years in the making. Both the source of humanity’s most despicable behaviour and the inspiration for some of its greatest art and architecture. It is the collective name for a belief system consisting of more than 30,000 variations; each of which alleges to be the truth.
Christianity’s central tenet for most of it’s 30,000 variations is that: the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent creator of the universe – the one and only true God – impregnated a virgin human woman who bore God’s only son – who is partly God Himself. This son was later tortured and murdered but was resurrected three days after his human death. He later ascended bodily into heaven and now sits at the right hand of God. Humanity is born into sin because the original man who was personally created by God from dirt went against God’s express instructions and attained forbidden knowledge by eating the fruit of a tree that bestows knowledge of good and evil on the person who consumes its fruit, which was placed nearby by God himself. This original ‘sin’ affects all of this man’s descendants – which includes all of humanity on earth today – which condemns every human being to eternal damnation – eternal torture in a spiritual placed called Hell. That is, unless we – humans – accept that God’s son was and is real, was tortured and murdered on our behalf – was sacrificed and died on behalf of us so that our sins could be forgiven – and was resurrected and is alive again.
For the sake of argument let’s assume that this central tenet of Christianity is absolutely true.
Given that God – as defined above – is the first and final authority in the entire Universe and is the creator of all – natural and unnatural – laws, a number of the choices made by this deity is rather curious. It strikes me as rather odd that given every available option – and to God, every option is available by definition – He chose scapegoating as the one and only way for humans to have our sins forgiven and receive salvation.
Scapegoating: (from the verb “to scapegoat”) is the practice of singling out any party for unmerited negative treatment or blame as a scapegoat.
Scapegoat: (in the Bible) A goat sent into the wilderness after the Jewish chief priest had symbolically laid the sins of the people upon it (Lev. 16)
Salvation: (Latin salvatio; Greek sōtēria; Hebrew yeshu’ah) is being saved or protected from harm or being saved or delivered from some dire situation. In religion, salvation is stated as the saving of the soul from sin and its consequences.
Sin: In Abrahamic contexts, sin is the act of violating God’s will.
This choice of path to salvation (deliverance from sin and its consequences) is especially curious because God is the final judge, jury and authority in existence. God is the final authority, the only decider, the only decision maker when it comes to the salvation or damnation of a human being (and literally everything else in the Universe). There exists, by definition, nothing else which makes the binary choice between the eternal torture and eternal salvation of a human soul. Any requirement to attain salvation then exists purely to influence or finalise the decision that God makes; to fulfil or not the requirements set by God which are used by God to determine the outcome of the decision of salvation or damnation. The requirements for salvation are defined by the final authority – God – and by definition cannot be influenced by anything else.
Why, with every possible option available to him, did he choose not only a heinously barbaric act but even more perplexingly required that He himself – in human form – be tortured and murdered through that particular barbaric act? Why does God require that He be tortured and temporarily killed to appease himself? Why does God require that He in human form be made a scapegoat upon which all the sins – human actions that contract His will – of the entire world be heaped before being – bodily – killed. What is it about this masochistic/sadistic theatrical that gives God the ability to grant salvation over damnation?
Given that God is omnipotent, nothing can dictate anything to God and any decision made by God can only be influenced by God and anything that is, is only so because God chose for it to be so. Given that, God then had the choice between forgiving everybody whole-sale or requiring that he in human form be tortured and murdered and He chose the barbaric option. Why? He had the choice between forgiving Adam or condemning billions to eternal torture and yet chose eternal torture. He had the choice between requiring a three week fast followed by the sacrifice of a person’s favourite pet after painting their house green and living in a swamp for six months while learning to recite the bible forwards and backwards in three languages to attain salvation or requiring that the human form of himself be tortured and murdered. He has the option to require absolutely any arbitrary thing – help other people, make the world a better place, sing Kumbaja at dawn for three days on a mountain top – or have himself tortured and killed and for some bizarre reason he chooses the sado-masochistic scapegoating option of torture and deicide.
Given the definition of God, there is only one possible answer: it’s what He wants.
He wants billions to be tortured for eternity since by definition he can not want it and by definition will have it. He wanted to be tortured and murdered since by definition he could have not wanted it. He wants his existence to be as vague and questionable as possible. He wants people to suffer precisely as much as they suffer now and then to continue to suffer even more after they die by being tortured in Hell for eternity. He wants all of this since he has the option and power to want something different and have it; to have absolutely anything whichever way He pleases.
This level of malevolence is truly awe inspiring. Two billion people choose to worship this travesty of a being as the pinnacle of morality. Can there be anything more disturbing?
There is, of course, a much simpler explanation than living in a Universe which was designed and is directed by the most evil super being imaginable: we live in a Universe in which it is possible for humanity to imagine such an awe inspiringly evil super being.
I wonder what it means for us? That we are so willing to subjugate ourselves to the terrible mental fabrications of primitive people?