Thursday, April 24, 2008

God is Great: And Religion STILL Poisons Everything

Christopher Hitchens and I don't exactly see eye-to-eye on the world, but I can't deny that people like him are necessary in today's crazy world.

 

Many, many Christians praise the Bible as the literal word of God, as the sole resource for how to live one's life sacredly and perfectly. I admit for most of my life I saw it the same way simply because the general consensus of institutional Christianity and it seemed the safest view to have. As I began to realize that the Bible, especially much of the Old Testament, is not the literal word of God, I admit I felt extremely uncomfortable and quite frankly vulnerable. If the Bible is not the literal Word of God, how are we to know for sure how God wants us to behave, what is right and wrong, what can hurt or help our soul?

 

It's a tough question to answer, but there are ways to go about your life even if you cannot rely 100% on the so-called Word of God. The only true Word of God that ever entered the Earth was the Living Word, Jesus Christ.  He said himself that all old laws were void, and broke many Jewish traditions while on the Earth. Humans had become hypocritical by using the Hebrew Scriptures as excuses to persecute people without following their teachings on how to be good to your neighbour and make the world a better place.

 

I may disagree fundamentally with Christopher Hitchens about God, but from what I gather quite a few of my fellow believers and myself agree with him that organized religion poisons everything. He's arrogant and rude, but nevertheless a brilliant man and a necessary voice in today's world, especially in the United States where the so-called "Christian" Right is pervading politics.

 

Bishop Spong has some things to say about Christ that I don't agree with and to me his denial of Christ as the traditionally viewed Saviour is somewhat disturbing. But in everything else, I think he has his head on his shoulders  and that if he and others like him had a bigger voice in the world more people would gravitate toward God and Christ because they'd be able to view them as more open and loving. Traditional Christianity must appear like a prison to outsiders where they have to completely surrender all autonomy and fun. It's not though, and I think Christian thinkers and reformers like Spong, Strobel and others can help spread that message.

 

It is easy to sometimes sit and say, "Wait, isn't it a little odd to have a religion based on a Jewish carpenter from 2000 years ago who we have many reason to believe is the son of God, but we can't be sure? That a man who died 2000 years ago can still be walking with you, and give you strength, and forgive your sins?"

Well, it DOES sounds odd, but the truth is that Jesus, even if he may not have been the begotten son of God, has had such an enormous impact on humanity that he is alive in us until this day.  The  more someone is remembered, and the stronger the love people had for them, the harder it is for their energy to fade from the earth.

 

I do believe in Him as my personal Saviour, but I also believe that God has a plan for those who never hear of Christ through no fault of their own. A just God would never condemn people to hell for no wrongdoing, and anyway who says that all will be condemned who never even have a chance to hear the Gospel have perverted minds.