Saturday, March 24, 2012

No Reason for Moms to Worry

My mom surely will be going to Heaven, if such a place were to exist, because she is a good, observant Christian who tries her best to be Christ-like. But she is fearful for my soul because I'm an atheist. I am not convinced that a god exists at all, but I am 100-percent sure that if a god does exist it is nothing at all like the god character of bible fame. The standard-model Christian God is a fallacy, a myth, a fairy tale. As such, the bible-god's son, Jesus, is also a fairy tale. That is not to say that a man named Jesus, who was a rebellious, though caring and kindhearted Jew of the first century, did not exist. There is sufficient external evidence that he did exist in body. But he most certainly was not divine and he was never resurrected from the dead, even if he may have been crucified.

So my beliefs have my mom convinced that I should be worried about my immortal soul. But her concerns, to me, are just one more reason why the Christian god cannot possibly exist. Here are some attributes of God as he is perceived by most Christians: all-knowing, all-powerful, eternal, eminently loving, perfectly just, and just an all-round super guy in the sky. But here are some of the things God has done or allowed to happen: genocide including the destruction of whole nations, rape, incest, child abuse, infanticide, and misogyny. Of course, Christians have their explanations - God gave us free will; God was only doing a little ethnic cleansing, etc. - and so they give him a pass on all that. But beyond all that, what about the fact that we, as goodhearted, caring humans, would be severely pained if we knew that our loved ones were suffering immensely. My mom is concerned for my soul. But how despondent would she be if she knew that I had died and was now existing in everlasting torment in the pits of hell? To be fair, there are some Christian denominations that believe that all will eventually end up in heaven. But I want to focus on mainstream Christian doctrine, and especially the more conservative or fundamentalist dogma that is rampant across America. How do those people reconcile their coming despair at the loss of some of their loved ones to hell-fire with the knowledge that they are safe in Heaven?

Some claim that God will prepare our bodies for an existence in Heaven - "...and fit us for Heaven to be with Thee there." - so the Christmas song goes. But does that mean we will have no memory of our loved ones once we get to Heaven? Will we remember anything from this life? If not, we are not really ourselves. I am a collection of all my memories and everything I know, and that includes the people I've known and loved. Am I to believe that if I get to heaven that all my memories of this life will be wiped clean? Will it be as if I had simply been born there? If so, then why does God even bother about giving us an earthly existence? Why not simply create us in Heaven in the first place? It can't be to test us, to see if we can earn our way to Heaven. That would mean that Grace is a sham. It also would mean that God is not all-knowing, because he would already know that most of us could not earn our way in, and he would know exactly which ones of us would fail the task. It can't be because he wanted us to have free will, because he could still give us free will in Heaven. Of course, if we have free will in Heaven, isn't it likely that we will screw things up when we get there just like we did here on Earth?

What it boils down to is this: Either when we die and go to Heaven we will remember our loved ones and still care for them, in which case we will be in deep sorrow for the ones who wound up in hell, or we will not remember anything about them at all, in which case we will be brand new people, making our life on Earth irrelevant. And since we are not supposed to feel pain and sorrow in Heaven, according to Christian doctrine, it must be the latter, with all the logical errors that scenario presents as described above.

So if Mom would allow herself to reason it through, she might come to the same conclusion. Based on nothing more than a little deductive reasoning and applying it to Christian dogma, there is no way the God of the bible can possibly exist. Therefore, there is no reason to worry about my soul, even if I had one.

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