Why Christianity Doesn't Make Any Sense

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

The following was composed originally in letter format, and at times may read like so. It has been altered slightly for the purposes of this essay, and to fit the reason for its publishing. Every now and then, while perusing articles and other works in defense of Christianity, I come across a rationalization so flawed and so baseless that I’m compelled to articulate a response on the spot. In an effort to better convey my thoughts on the subject matter, I compiled my collective criticisms of the faith into this single essay.

The single most influential reason that caused me to abandon Christianity was, oddly enough, the very doctrine of the religion itself, the idea that Yahweh so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that whoever believed in him would not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16). To today’s cultural Christian, this idea is so heavily repeated that it hardly ever receives any closer consideration beneath the surface of the words. Whether or not an historical Jesus existed is beside the point, as his divinity described in the Bible seems to be a mythology produced through the compilation of many traits borrowed from other “sons of God” and “Messiahs” that existed throughout pre-Biblical history. The idea of a savior and messiah is not unique to Christianity, and in some cases, it even predates it.

But therein lies the underlying problem with this doctrine: the idea that humanity needs a savior. Consider the story of Adam and Eve. God takes his most beloved creations and places them within a garden from which they may eat anything of their choosing. As the Bible tells us, Adam and Eve were created in God’s own image: perfect and sinless. For some strange reason though, God decides to place the tree of good and evil directly in front of them, knowing full well their naivety to temptation and their inability to choose right from wrong. If it is indeed the case that God made everything, then he created Satan and allowed him to directly deceive Adam and Eve and cause them to disobey and bring sin into the world.

And remember, this is all happening under the watch of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God. Adam and Eve’s capability to disobey and sin implies that they were created imperfectly, with an apparently natural tendency to ignore the command of God. If God knew that he had created an imperfection, why go through with it? God knew Adam and Eve were prone to bringing sin into the world, knew (while creating Satan) that Satan would deceive them and ruin his perfect plan, knew that placing the knowledge of good and evil in front of ignorant and naïve people would result in the fall of man, and yet God went through with this plan anyway. Why? God blaming and banishing mankind for the events in the Garden of Eden is akin to a negligent parent setting a loaded gun in front of a helpless baby and then having the nerve to act surprised and offended when the child fires the gun.

It just does not add up. We now understand that this story is just that: a story. Early man’s attempt at understanding his place in the universe and written chronology to explain our origins. The theory of evolution by natural selection, on the other hand, is more than adequate in explaining how our species got to where it is today. Evolution is indeed a fact. It is verified by every discipline of the biological sciences independently. Contrary to public opinion, a scientific theory is an explanation of the facts that we already know to be true. We know evolution is a fact because it has been observed, and the theory of evolution is simply an explanation of how evolution has shaped and diversified the biology we see around us. Natural selection is what has given us the illusion of design in our world, a world that has seen 99.9% of all previous lifeforms end in extinction. In fact, the theory of evolution is better understood than the theory of gravitation, so if one denies evolution, they may as well deny the reality of gravity as well.

Science has also made it abundantly clear that our planet is not anywhere near 6,000 years in age, but rather approximately 4.54 billion years old. Radiometric dating (the nuclear decay of radioactive elemental isotopes) is indeed a reliable dating technique, and countless methods have all yielded the figure provided above. Those with an anti-science agenda will make pseudoscientific claims about the inauthenticity of these ages, but they are being intellectually dishonest. They are citing the 2 percent of trials in which the technique does not work sufficiently and are ignoring the conclusive results that the Earth is a 4.54 billion-year-old planet within a 13.7 billion-year-old universe.

So what does all of this have to do with Christianity? It demonstrates that the accounts of the creation and of the fall of man in the book of Genesis are false and cannot be taken literally or considered factual history. Essentially, the Adam and Eve creation account cannot be true, and is more than likely a narrative to demonstrate the evils of temptation.

If we consult the Bible, we are taught that humanity is inherently sinful and in need of salvation due to Adam’s original sin. However, since the idea of a historical “first man” has been more or less discarded, I’m led to the conclusion that there is no reason to believe in something called “sin” in the first place. As I’m sure you’re aware, there is no need for a savior or messiah if there is no such thing as sin: this is one of the reasons I reject the idea of Christ as a savior.

But suppose a literal Adam and Eve are not a necessity for accepting Jesus as your personal lord and savior. Suppose that somewhere during the course of evolution, our species became corrupted and needed a savior nonetheless (essentially liberal/moderate Christianity, the version I was taught as a child). This version of “cherry-picked” Christianity (one in which nice verses are endorsed and ugly ones ignored) is quite popular among today’s youth, and I suspect this is largely due to Biblical illiteracy. Nevertheless, these teachings are as unsatisfactory to me as are the teachings of Biblical literalism discussed above.

If god knew that his “perfect” plan would be ruined by the interference of the demonic (i.e. Satan and his demons), why go through with it? And why did god sacrifice himself (Jesus) to himself (Yahweh) to create a loophole for a rule he himself (Yahweh) created? In fact, Jesus’ sacrifice was not a sacrifice at all. He knew for an eternity of time, before the Earth existed, before the universe existed, even before time itself existed, that he would be betrayed, handed over to the Romans, and crucified on a cross until he was dead. But this lasted for a mere 3 days. A true sacrifice would be like if a mortal soldier made a split-second decision and gave up their one and only life for their fellow comrades, knowing full well that was it for them and that there was no return from beyond the grave. That would be an example of a true sacrifice. Jesus’ death on the cross (if it happened) is not.

And why would a sacrifice even be necessary for restoring the fallen nature of mankind? We’re talking about an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving god here, remember? Why make a bloody sacrifice that involved the loss of life instead of simply manifesting forgiveness to the people? Is god not all-powerful in nature? The story of the crucifixion seems to indicate that his methods are restricted to that of a Bronze Aged tribal society obsessed with blood and violence.

It is also clear that Jesus’ sacrifice is not an example of justice and mercy. Rather, it is the furthest thing from it. How can anyone possibly assert that another man taking my place and receiving punishment for my wrongdoing is a moral example of justice? If I commit a murder and someone else volunteers to take my place in prison, should the judge let me walk free knowing I might possibly murder someone else? That’s not how justice works. If anything, Jesus’ sacrifice was a poorly planned example of an injustice that solved nothing. Vicarious redemption is immoral.

Another detail of this doctrine that concerns me is how Jesus supposedly made this sacrifice thousands of years before I was even born, and particularly without my consent. Would I ask a completely innocent, random stranger to go wait on death row because of a crime my descendant might commit 2,000 years from now? Would YOU? Is that an example of perfect justice and morality authored by a god? Acting as a truly moral person, I would NEVER for a second even consider asking someone else to take the death penalty for me knowing they would suffer because of something I did. Morality is about limiting harm done to others, not about following rules or doctrines written about in a book.

The existence of a literal hell is also a devastating idea that helped lead me to the path of nonbelief. I am at a loss for words when Christians speak of an all-loving father god who loves his children and yet allows two thirds of the world’s population to end up in the worst torture chamber ever devised. There is no possible way to reconcile the existence of an unconditionally loving god with the mere concept of a place in which torture and agony last for an eternity. If the Biblical god is responsible for the creation of everything, that means he either (a) created Satan and hell knowing exactly what would transpire there or (b) created the causes and events that would lead to the creation of hell. Either way, if the Bible’s description of a literal hell is anywhere near true, god is responsible for the creation of hell, its main adherent, and the endless anguish that will endure in that despicable place forever. There is no way around this.

Some people will doubt the existence of a literal hell, proposing that perhaps it is a metaphor to explain the importance of god, or the severity of separation from god. They fail to realize that Jesus serves no purpose in this case, and the entire basis for Christianity falls apart in this world view.

Consider myself for example. Long before the Big Bang, god knew exactly how he would create me. He knew which people he would place in my life, knew what my likes and dislikes would be, and knew exactly the way in which I would think about the universe. By his own hand, he created me the way I am. He knew I would be a scientifically minded individual, he knew I would reject the Bible using the reasoning and brain that he gave me, and he knew for an eternity that my soul would end up writhing in agony, suffering in anguish, and enduring unimaginable torture forever. He’s known all of this since the beginning of time, so my question is this: why create me? Why? He knew exactly what would happen to me if he proceeded in creating me, and yet he went ahead and did so. Ask yourself: why?

How can anyone possibly be deserving of eternal punishment for a finite “crime” of simply exercising logical reasoning and arriving at disbelief? If a murderer repented and accepted Christ just seconds before his execution, he would be rewarded with bliss forever while a moral person like me would suffer without end simply for recognizing the lack of evidence for a deity. Another example: had Adolf Hitler repented and accepted Christ just before his death, he’d be rewarded in paradise forever, while the Jewish men, women, and children, simply by virtue of how they were raised, would be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone in hell. It would be cruel and immoral of an all-powerful god to create more than 7,000,000,000 people on this planet knowing full well that two thirds of them will end up in hell forever.

Here in the twenty first century, my grandmother can compose a perfectly concise message and send it around the world in mere seconds via the internet. But the god of the Bible chooses instead to communicate his vitally important ideas through an ancient text, and selects anonymous authors to write about events decades after they occurred? Jesus could manifest himself dead center in the middle of Times Square to end any debate on the truth of Christianity, and yet he chooses not to.

This leads to an important point: why must we believe everything on faith, and faith alone? Faith is believing things without evidence, and contrary to popular belief, this is not a virtue. With heaven and hell in the balance, god bypasses every opportunity to remove all doubt about his existence and instead elects to remain hidden and continue working in “mysterious” (and unverifiable) ways. Alternatively, he decides that the best way to communicate his message is by having anonymous authors in the largely illiterate middle east record everything, knowing full well that his message would be mistranslated and abused for the next two thousand years. Never mind the Chinese, who at the same point in history were far more literate and had developed a systematic way of recording important information.

And where did god come from anyway? Many claim that he is an eternal, timeless, dimensionless being that intervenes in the physical dimension in which we live. This is a contradiction, however; if god truly interacts with humanity, he is bound by time and a three-dimensional space. It cannot be both ways. Then comes the argument that the universe is too complex to have originated from nothing without the intervention of a supernatural being. If the immense complexity of the universe requires a designer, then the designer itself must be more complex, and thus the question of where everything came from remains unanswered. If we are going to demand that complexity requires a cause, god cannot be deemed the answer and be an exception to the rule at the same time. God, as an explanation for the universe, is insufficient, and at best redundant.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this letter, my purpose was not to burn bridges, but to explain why I myself have rejected the doctrines and dogmas of Christianity. As an atheist, I certainly don’t have all the answers to the mysteries of the cosmos, nor do I pretend to have them. But what I do have to offer is an evidence-based way of looking at the world in a truthful and humbling manner. It is for that reason that I am becoming ever closer to understanding the universe in which I find myself. And an amazing universe it is indeed.


Submitted: November 19, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Peter Bowman. All rights reserved.

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Comments

JDB401

Good essay, All the 'God-head'religions suffer from this basic problem of trying to force ideaoligy over and above fact. But as they were all man made and used to establish power over others are we really surprised that their basic tenents have foundations of sand.

Sat, November 20th, 2021 5:20am

olive tree

I believe David Hume explained it well in A Treatise on Human Nature, the Is-Ought problem:

“In every system of morality, which I have hitherto met with, I have always remarked, that the author proceeds for some time in the ordinary ways of reasoning, and establishes the being of a God, or makes observations concerning human affairs; when all of a sudden I am surprised to find, that instead of the usual copulations of propositions, is, and is not, I meet with no proposition that is not connected with an ought, or an ought not. This change is imperceptible; but is however, of the last consequence. For as this ought, or ought not, expresses some new relation or affirmation, 'tis necessary that it should be observed and explained; and at the same time that a reason should be given; for what seems altogether inconceivable, how this new relation can be a deduction from others, which are entirely different from it. But as authors do not commonly use this precaution, I shall presume to recommend it to the readers; and am persuaded, that this small attention would subvert all the vulgar systems of morality, and let us see, that the distinction of vice and virtue is not founded merely on the relations of objects, nor is perceived by reason.”

Although some people contest that as fallacious… Makes perfect sense to me.

Sat, November 20th, 2021 11:25am

Celtic-Scribe63

When we look closely at all religions they tend to fall apart and make no real sense at all.

I wrote a similar essay a while back on this subject. Check it out if you like,

Deity Worship.

Sat, November 20th, 2021 8:22pm

QueenBee1

Why do you think I left Christianity?. There is,no truth to it.

Sun, November 21st, 2021 6:19am

Ms.Romance55

All The Abrahamic religions are no different. They are all offspring of Judaism. All.of them demean women.
Condemn anyone who doesn't follow their dogmatic or rigid rules.

Sun, November 21st, 2021 6:25am

Derina Peng

Thou I am not an atheist, I enjoy your analysis on the "incredibilities" of Christianity. I should have read this essay as early as when I was four to spare all the arguments with minsters I ever met on the way. The God in Christianity was created to enslave, to keep us believe that we are at the mercy of He and therefore no responsibility of our own life or fate. Everything that goes wrong is all because of He or He is testing us, to keep us soulless who believe no next lives...

Many of us are made to believed that God exists therefore we exist. But in reality it is other way around. We exist therefore God exists.

Who are we really? Can we each do all what God is able to do — Creation of good and evil and all?

Sun, November 21st, 2021 1:13pm

Trindin Wright

Well, I find myself in a precarious situation that I never believed I would ever find myself in. I am a former atheist. I scoffed at the idea of such a person existing. What could I mean by a former atheist?

Quick back story, I was raised evangelical Christian, until I was 12 I began to question things despite the family cult I grew up in suppressing curiosity. My initial question was if Jesus died at this date what happened to the Olmecs or the ancient Egyptians who lived "B.C.?" More questions followed subsequently causing me to leave the church entirely around 15 when I decided to exercise reason. This departure led to most of my family shunning me along with the remaining relationships to become so strained they were unbearable.

I spent the next 15 years locked in what Carl Jung would call a hero Journey, traveling through different Poets and isms like stoicism, Buddhism, and finding myself as an atheist through my discovery of the God delusion by Dawkins, Religion poisons everything By Hitchens, as well as watching DarkMatter2525 on youtube who has some of the most cutting edge arguments that just blew everything I learned and was taught by Christianity out of the sea.

I mean no slight when I say this there's nothing original about your grievences, questions, or objections. Every last one of them I have seen before and still to this moment recognize as legitimate. Ok so the question must be asked how do I rectify them all? What causes me to put former instead of atheist? Faith! Haha I'm kidding.

In all seriousness, I started to read the Bible as an atheist pointing out everything wrong with the Bible, which some you very eloquently touched on. Why plant the tree at all? Why slavery in Leviticus? Those were not wonders committed against Egypt, but divine crimes I called them. They were sadistic plagues. How could you harden Pharaoh's heart then blame him for saying no was/is egregious to me.

I say all that to say this, in the middle of my atheistic reading of the Bible I discovered Carl Jung and Fyodor Dostoyevsky, the latter teaching me to become an advocate for beliefs that are contrary to my own. It all shifted when I made a conscious decision to stop reading it like an atheist, but instead read it like HOW COULD IT BE TRUE?

I have experience in debating so I put that hat on seeing how I could be a lawyer for it. I realized just after rereading Genesis that I was NOT an atheist against Jesus, but was an atheist against the shit the church covered him in. The shit they sprayed with perfume and told both you and I alike that it smelled good. Ostracizing us for smelling the BS.

In the next coming days, im going to produce my findings. Whereas I didn't find anything particularly new with this essay. It was very sharp, legitimate, and prompted me to write this long comment. I hope you will do me the honor of reading it with an open reasonable mind. I think you like me was an atheist to the shit, but in that pile of illogical self-serving dung a shiny jewel gleamed through and this is my attempt at excavating by posing the great questions you did here and humbly answering them in a way that can be observed.

Mon, November 22nd, 2021 8:37pm

LE. Berry

Terrific piece Peter highlighting many logical and valid points. Something I always considered after leaving Christianity was when it came to a simple inspiration of faith in a power beyond human existence, why represent the horrible violence of the crucifixion as a part of the Christian religion? If Jesus was a divine being, why go through the torture, why not have the hammer fly out of the executioners hand for a proof of his divinity? It would have made for better religious mythos.

Mon, November 22nd, 2021 9:40pm

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