Monday, April 21, 2008

God is Imaginary: #7 Understand Religious Delusion

Understand Religious Delusion.

Main Issue

I'm going to start quite a ways down in this one, with the Christian "delusion," and skip the "proofs" at the end, which I have addressed earlier or will address in later posts. So how does the Christian story differ from the three above? Quite simply, there is no other way. Would it have mattered if Joseph Smith received the plates from the hand of God himself? Would it matter if Santa brought the gifts to the children by beaming them from a Star Trekesque Transporter Room? Would it matter if Mohammad was transported by time-traveling helicopter pilots? Not really. These are all accidental to the main point.

Now what if you remove Christ's virgin birth? The crucifixion? The resurrection? What if we removed those "stories?"

If there was no virgin birth, if Christ was not the Son of God, he would have died for his own sins, and we would be damned. End of story.

Even if there was a virgin birth, if he had not died, our sins would not have been punished. We would be damned. End of story.

Even if Christ was born of a virgin and died for our sins, if he had not been raised, we would not be either. We would be damned. End of story.

You see, miracles in other religions are either divine attributes or a little deus ex machina (note the root of that phrase). Christianity, without those miracles, would not exist. Christ would have been a prophet. And just as there are no Habbukians (or if there are, there are very very few of them), there would be no Christians. How can you tell the difference between truth and delusions? Christianity without the "delusion" does not exist. Truth is like that. You remove part of the truth, and it is no longer true.


Minor Issues

The miracles are supposed to "prove" that Jesus is God, but, predictably, these miracles left behind no tangible evidence for us to examine and scientifically verify today.

There is one miracle in the Bible that left a staggering amount of evidence. The evidence of this miracle is measured in billions, cubic miles, and megatons. We live next to it, on top of it, inside it. We burn it in our cars. We heat our houses with it. We wrote equations with it. The Flood left billions of water-deposited fossils, massive sedimentary layers, huge coal seams, chalk beds, and oil fields, and massive flood plains orders of magnitude larger than any river flood we've seen. "But that's not evidence for the Flood!" It's not evidence for evolution either. It's evidence. It's why lawyers get paid so much. They reconstruct the past to suit their clients based on the evidence. We reconstruct the past to suit ourselves. The problem is not evidence. As it says in Luke 16:31 "If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead."

Are the Jews wasting their time by keeping meat and dairy separate? Short answer? Yes. It's like you ordered a package online, paid for the overnight shipping, and the next day put your tracking number into the computer. "Delivered." It says. You put it in again. "Delivered." And again. "Delivered." And again. "Delivered." Are you wasting your time? Until you go down to the mailbox and pick up your package, you sure are.

Another way you can separate Christianity from Mormonism and Islam (and Gnosticism, etc.), is that when Christ came with the new revelation, he didn't overthrow any of the previous revelation. There is not a word of the Old Testament which Christians do not consider to be the true Word of God. Every revelation after the New Testament, however, has to throw out at least one verse, Galatians 1:8 "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!"

As a side note, when I was reading this, I started thinking about the Wedding at Cana, and had a thought which was new to me. Mary asked Jesus to intervene prior to the beginning of his ministry, prior to the performance of any miracles. To me, this says that his divine nature was self-evident prior to any evidence thereof.

Back to the Fifty Reasons.

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