Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

Jesus calls all who labor and are heavy laden. What does he mean by that? I suppose it could be a physical exhaustion. It could also be those struggling with emotional burdens because of economic hardship, social hurts, relationship breakdown, or simply depression. He calls all of these people who are just plain tired with life and promises to give them rest - rest for their souls.

As a Christian, I found this to be true. I found the idea of Jesus calling me, taking my heavy burdens, and replacing them with his simple yoke incredibly refreshing and compelling. Here was a simple relationship of trust and obedience, like a child's with her parent; one that often gave me a wonderful sense of peace. Keith Green's song often came to mind when thinking of the yoke of Christ: Just keep doing your best, and pray that it's blessed, and he'll take care of the rest.

Jesus says that his yoke is easy, and his burden is light.

And again, this was something I experienced. Faith in God and his ability to care for me and to lead me where he wanted was relatively easy.

Unfortunately, the more I thought about my faith and its validity, the heavier this yoke became on my shoulders.

The yoke that was supposed to bring peace and rest instead began to weigh heavily on my mind as I considered the ramifications of what it meant to trust in (and actually feel benefit from!) a deity who was not there.

It was the feeling of relief evaporating when one realizes that the sight of life-giving water was merely a mirage. It was the feeling of hope dying when the report of a cancer-free body is discovered to have been accidentally switched with another patient's.
It was a feeling of dark despair.

I began to deal with the terrible cognitive dissonance of believing in a god who loved me with zero real evidence that he's actually there.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Short Thought on Evangelism

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?
If Christianity's deity is real, why does he depend so heavily on his children to introduce him to everyone else?

Also, when his child attempts to introduce him, why won't he say hello?

"Hogarth, I'd like you to meet my Father."

"Oh! Great! Hi, Mr..... ?"



Shucks, why won't he say hello when I say it first? If he's real, why is he so hidden and silent? Why does he constantly remind me of Baal in the story of Mount Carmel, and his followers of Baal's prophets?
“Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” And they cried aloud ... but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Short Thought on Hell

From what I can gather, a fair amount of those who know me believe that, unless I rejoin their club, I am destined for a literal eternity of torture, brought about by my rebellion and refusal to accept the free gift of salvation. (Whether or not someone can accept salvation a second time after having "given it up" once is up for debate, I imagine.)

Here is one of my problems with this idea.

Reference to God as Father is a common metaphor in Scripture, as is the idea that God is Love. Evangelical Christians want me to accept the idea that God is a loving father, who has the best interests of his creations at heart.

The sentence of eternal torture goes against this metaphor, and only some insane theological twists can make one think the problem is resolved.

If God loves me, why would he torture me? Is it because he is perfect, and therefore cannot abide my sins? If he cannot abide my sins, why not put me in Hell now? Is it because he is patient? Okay - so he's patient now, up until the moment of my death and we go from patiently waiting for 30-100 years to an ETERNITY OF TORTURE. Well that escalated quickly! It's like he's bipolar or something - excessively patient or the other extreme.

Calling this kind of god good goes against the definition of the word good. Are you trying to tell me that the better a person I am, the more I will feel the desire to eternally torture people who aren't? How the hell is this a good plan?