One of my friends on Facebook is a devout Christian. Well, actually, several are, I suspect, but he’s enthusiastic. Some of his posts cause me to wince, but he’s a sweet guy and doesn’t use his religion to judge or blame.
Today he posted a link to a blog that was a Christian’s answer to Pat Robertson’s recent theological diarrhea. It was a fairly thoughtful, though perhaps not a best-written, response, and I agreed with much of it, though from an agnostic’s point of view. Personally, I thought he was too easy on Patty, but I’m a godless heathen, so I shouldn’t judge.
One thing really stood out for me, though. Well, two, if you count when he says, “I understand that many of you will want to comment on the theological truths you’ve found that support Robertson’s comments, and also on the good that Robertson has done. Regarding the latter, this was not a blanket dismissal on Robertson’s life or ministry, it was a response to a comment, regarding the former, it’s a debate I ask you to take somewhere else,” as I cannot think of any real good Mssr. Robertson’s done. But I digress. The passage in question is this: “Theologically, what we all deserve is death, and Christ paid that for us. We live in the New Testament, not the old. Lets [sic] spread God’s unconditional love.”
Original Sin has always bugged me, and in this context the irony is especially exquisite. Pat blames Haiti’s troubles on an alleged, even mythical, pact some of its people made with the devil in the far past, and sane people everywhere rip him a new one. But how different is this thinking, really, from Original Sin? Our remote, remote, remote…did I mention REMOTE?…ancestors broke the only rule they were given by God (which is pretty pathetic, I admit), and now everyone in the fucking world has to pay for it? For eternity?
Yes, well, someone says, Christ paid that debt of blood and saved everyone. That’s lovely, but it leaves us with (at least) some burning questions: Why did God wait three thousand years (Biblical time, more or less) to fix Adam and Eve’s fatal mistake? Given this, what happened to all the people who lived before Christ’s time?
Perhaps more importantly, though – what kind of God sets up the Universe this way? I mean, how sadistic can you be? This is GOD we’re talking about. He has to know that humans are week and petty and easily frightened – he created them! Yet he still expects them to obey all his rules, and when they don’t his answer is everlasting damnation? If a human parent reacted like this, Child Protective Services would come down on their ass so hard they’d never walk normally again. This is God’s unconditional love?
Again we see the disconnect between traditional theology and actual human empathy. Most people realize that what Robertson said was awful and cruel – they know that there is no true love or compassion in this kind of remark – yet they easily, nay, cheerfully, create for themselves a God who is even less loving and compassionate. (Can you even conceive of “eternal damnation”? I can’t, but the very idea scares the shit out of me.)
I ask you: who wants a God like that?