I grew up in the church system. My father a minister. As a child I had a confidence that I was “forgiven,” by god. I no longer follow the path, nor do I believe in the idea of personal salvation. While I do believe in a spiritual deity, I’m confident that the Christian view of the spiritual world is incredibly bent and biased towards the their own human frailty.
What’s Wrong with a Savior?
On the level of personal psychology, I’m sure that a savior helps a person deal with guilt. Someone who is dying can let go of their past, and feel confident in the next adventure beyond the body.
For the rest of us, however, the savior myth creates a problem, where the believers leave a trail of tears in their wake.
Perhaps this is best identified with a Christian bumper sticker I once saw on a car: “I’m not perfect, I’m just forgiven.”
Consider that for a moment. Would any parent allow their children to hang out with someone who’s motto is, “I’m not perfect, I’m just forgiven?” It’s no wonder child abusers, offenders, thieves and hostile aggression is present in the church. This problem has been going on for over 2,000 years. Since inception, the Christian church has been hostile, belligerent and cruel.
The solution for a Christian 2,000 years ago was simple: you do the violence that Rome commands, then you ask for forgiveness.
Prior to Constantine, the early Christians were mostly pacifists. Refusing to fight for the Roman army, Christians were demoralized and abused. It was Constantine who had the manipulative idea, to convince these pacifists that they really have a god given decree to do acts of violence on behalf of the government (conquer the world in the symbol of the cross). How funny an idea, since it’s so removed from the teachings of Jesus….
Since that historic reference point, the Christian church has always had a militaristic arm. These individuals could do the vile acts of abuse, do what the government requires to take land, fight battles and keep people in line. Once the violence was over, they would “repent” and be forgiven by their savior.
Catholics utilized the priesthood for the purpose of forgiveness, but it was the Protestants, who went even further. One didn’t even have to seek out a priest. For the Protestant, they silently prayed to Jesus for forgiveness and all was cleared. All guilt washed away. Once again the evil doer was a “good, clean Christian.”
This is the problem: waiving personal responsibility, and accepting the responsibility of another, generations of Christians never learned to take ownership for their actions.
The god of the Canaanites
Within all Abrahamic faith, is a tradition of animal sacrifice. While the modern pagan is accursed of animal sacrifice (most often unjustly) by Christians galore, the act itself is rooted in historically in the religion of El.
El is a derivation of the Canaanite religion. El was a god of Canaan. This god was violent and demanded sacrifice. Blood of an animal was the way of this faith. This faith would evolve into the Judaic faith, under Abraham. Animal sacrifice remained a staple of the religion, but the pantheon was cut down to one god… who incidentally had the same prepending name of “El.” Within the Hebrew Scriptures of the Old Testament, god is known as having many names, including “El Shadai,” and “Elohim.”
Consider also that the origin of Hebrew angels, have appending “-el” to their names: Gabriel, Michael, Uriel, and so on. Prepending El- signified the deity and appending -el signified a servant of the deity.
Canaanite religion is painted as a dark and negative faith in the Bible. Perhaps this is a situation of the winners decided how to frame the losers. As the Canaanite religion vanished, it was replaced with the worship of one god, who was still the same angry, violent, hateful god of the Canaanites.
Animal and human sacrifice was evidently one of the dark aspects of Canaanite religion. It continued through the Hebrew faith, into the Christian and Muslim religions as well.
While human sacrifice was forbidden, it actually is a large part of the thematic aspect of the Biblical god. Consider the following stories:
Abraham is tricked by god, to go attempt a human sacrifice of his first born son, Isaac. (Genesis 22). Modern believers will emphasize, that Abraham did not kill his son. But in the story he was willing to. He raised the blade, but his hand was stopped at the last minute by an angel. The story rewards Abraham for being willing to kill his own children. That willingness is what god loved to see. Really take that in. How twisted is that?
Jesus, once crucified, is considered by Christians as the embodiment of sacrifice. They believe he died and rose again, and through him they have remission of sin. But really it’s an insurance policy, that simply clears their guilty conscience.
Animal blood and sacrifice was a big thing within the Bible. The first record of it in the Bible is in the story of Cain and Abel. Of the two, Cain is the one who brings a vegetarian sacrifice to appease this angry god.
That god is not pleased. Snubbing Cain, this god rejoices in the bloody mess that Abel brings to the altar. This is the origin of blood sacrifice.
Ironically, Cain (in a fit of jealousy) kills Abel.
Consider the Blood
From a Christian perspective, it’s normal to think that an animal sacrifice appeased an angry god. If you can find the space to ask the question, “why,” the whole issue of animal sacrifice becomes strange.
Why does blood cleanse someone?
Returning to the Old Testament for the moment, how is an eternal, cosmic entity (god) appeased by the pouring out of blood from an animal? The lamb doesn’t have the cognitive ability to say, “hey Joe, kill me, smear my blood around your altar, and god will forgive you of your sin. I’m willing to die for you.”
Exactly how did the killing of an animal create any change between the “sinner” and god?
The Jesus Story
Unlike an animal sacrifice, the Jesus story is one where he evidently chooses to die for the sins of his fellow human. They can get forgiveness of their sins through his death. But why?
“Because he’s sinless,” the Christian will say.
Well so’s a child, but no one would think that a child sacrifice would cleanse them of sin.
“Oh because Jesus is the ‘son of god,'” they might amend. So? How exactly does that help me?
Here’s how it damages me, you and everyone else who thinks someone else can take your sins away…. it makes you lazy. Instead of trying to change, you just keep falling back to your own problems.
This is nothing new, even the New Testament discusses it in 2nd Peter 2:22 (“…as a dog returns to its own vomit…”). So the sacrifice of Jesus really doesn’t do anything outwardly for a person. No lasting change occurs, only internal, psychological change may occur.
The Abuser Lives off Forgiveness
The Jesus doctrine appeals to abusers. Turn the other cheek, let someone steal from you, let someone hurt and harm you, obey your master, obey those who have authority over you, suffer and complain not, be willing to die for the cause and never kill someone for the cause – these are the summation points of Jesus. While most modern Christians would scoff at this, the one thing they will accept is the immediate act of forgiveness.
Christians leave a trail of tears wherever they go. They are free to hurt others, and simply “ask for forgiveness” from god, so they feel clean again, to go about their business and hurt someone else later on.
My evangelical mother lived with my family for a year of her life. She was cruel, manipulative, and hostile. She would yell at my wife and once we caught her lying about our family to strangers. We called her on the lies… and at first she denied she said anything. As we had witnesses, she was caught in her lies and she admitted it… but claimed they were true statements. We kept hammering her for evidence of her “truth,” of which she had none.
Instead of asking us to forgive her, she simply got quiet and ignored the situation. She prayed about it, evidently, and went about her life. A few days later my wife reminded her of her lies, to which my mother bellowed, “Jesus forgave me of that, so you need to as well!”
I stepped in and told her, “I’m not a christian and I will not abide by a system that allows you to abuse my family.”
What my mother did is no oddity. It is no outlier. This is the common theme of Christians. They have a savior to forgive them, so there’s no need to be ethical.
My oldest brother once told me as a child, “the one person I hate doing business with, is a Christian.” I’m not sure if he still feels that way, but I understand his feelings.
How can you do business or trust someone, who’s whole religion is based on “not being perfect,” and “asking for forgiveness later?”
No wonder Franklin Graham, Swagart, Falwell and others show no shame in their actions. They lie, manipulate and create a lot of strife. Im sure they simply “wash off” in the privacy of their home, doing some prayers to god.