Continuing the journey…
I suppose I didn’t tell the whole story in What Started My Questioning. That was what brought the question, “Is this really true?” into focus. But there had been at least a few more ideas rattling around in my brain that led me in that direction.
Now, as a deconvert, I consider these ideas as sort of “soft evidence” against the Christian meta-stories and truth claims. (Harder evidence is yet to come.)
Fellow deconverts, please bear with me below, as I won’t bother to insert “allegedly” or “ostensibly” everywhere. But believers – don’t get any ideas – like thinking that I still believe somewhere deep down. It’s just shorthand.
The Garden of Eden Was a Setup.
“Whatever you do, don’t eat from this big pretty tree in the middle of the garden. Now I’m going to leave you alone for a while…”
Surely an omniscient god knew that the tempter would come. And yet, he gave Adam and Eve no help. Without the knowledge of good and evil – the very knowledge of what evil or sin are, which comes from eating the forbidden fruit, anyway – Adam and Eve were ill-equipped to defend against temptation. And so, they succumbed.
Now what kind of sick test is this, anyway? Don’t eat this tasty fruit…even though it’s “good for food, and…a delight to the eyes, and [would] make one wise” (Gen. 3:6). Why not? Because they would “surely die” (Gen. 2:17).
Why would they surely die? How would it kill them? Why would a good, loving father god put such a lethal thing right in their midst, anyway? Without explanations, the command amounts to “because I said so”. IMHO, that’s bad parenting.
…In my experience, Christians (my former self included) will claim that God foreknew Adam and Eve would rebel, and let it happen, because it was part of his plan. Because…why, exactly?
Sins of the Fathers
Let’s pretend for a moment that the above all made sense, and we had understandable reasons why a loving god should test Adam and Eve this way. Now all of us get the shaft with this “sin nature” that we inherited from them? If God’s omnipotent, he’s in control, so he let it happen. How is that just?
I wasn’t there; I didn’t eat the fruit. I never met Adam or Eve, and I certainly didn’t vote for them, or choose them to represent me in any way in that choice that they made. And yet, a just and loving god allowed their single choice to affect all of us in such awful ways?
Are the sins of the fathers visited on the sons? Contradictory citations not withstanding, if an active sentient agent is punishing sons (and daughters) for the “sins” of the fathers (and mothers), that’s not just.
The Problems of Natural Evil and “Divine Hiddenness”
The problem of “natural evil” – suffering and death not caused by humans – is probably the biggest counter-apologetic point against Christianity, in and of itself.
In my attempts to give Christian truth claims the benefit of the doubt, I supposed that there could possibly be a way to reconcile this conundrum. And yet, the fact that Christian apologists still grapple with it to this day indicates that we’ve not been given the answer.
And despite the “apparent” contradiction, we’re expected to believe the claims? Not just expected – required, lest we suffer eternal damnation. But this god doesn’t show up or give any concrete proof of even his existence.
The outsider test for faith
There are numerous mutually-contradictory belief systems in the world. There is no obvious evidence for any of them. And…those who don’t believe in my brand of religion will be condemned?!
What of those who never heard? Certainly it would be a travesty of justice to damn those who never even had a proper shot at believing the “good news”.
Many people will be more critical of these propositions than I was here. And I’m cool with that. Remember, I was trying to give Christian “Truth” claims the benefit of the doubt, so that if they came tumbling down, that I’d be sure that I had given them a fair shot.
I don’t think I gave an exhaustive or rigorous treatment to any of these issues here in this blog post. But did I make sense? Do you agree with me that these points are at least enough to prompt an honest seeker to ask whether the Christian Truth claims are indeed so?
Yes? Phew – that’s a relief!
No? If you think that my points don’t make sense, or that they’re not enough to prompt such questioning, I think that’s actually indicative of the absurdity of these bits of the Christian metastory. Besides, how does one coherently tear down multiple flavors of incoherent propositions?
Image source: File:The Fall of Man by Lukas Cranach.jpg.
1. The exact chronology is becoming a bit blurry, but I think I was formulating these ideas during “Research, Phase 1”, when I was researching Christian doctrines; and perhaps leading up to it.
2. Humble opinion, as I’m not a parent. But I’m glad I didn’t get that (much?) as a kid. I’m pretty sure it would’ve pissed me off.
3. Watch CARM equivocate.