Saturday, November 20, 2010

Responsibility for Sin

Sometimes when I am in a discussion with a Christian theist they decide to tell me why it is they think I'm an atheist. You see to some reason is meaningless, faith is everything, so no one could ever have a REASON to reject religion or disbelieve in their particular sky-man. Faith is meant to trump reason, in fact it says so in the Bible.

"We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete. " - 2nd Corinthians 10:5-6

So Christians are meant to take captive their thoughts, and demolish any attempt at argument or reasoning with, apparently, blind obedience. Anyway, back to the main point, I've had Christians tell me that I became an atheist to shirk my responsibility to God. The reason I've rejected theistic claims, they tell me, is because I don't want to be held accountable for my actions. Apparently I want to sin so badly that I pretend God doesn't exist so that I can sin behind his back but, according to them, I still believe in this God and indeed "know" he exists. This is a sort of defense mechanism for Christians because they don't want to believe that someone could actually leave the faith and stop believing in God. After all if someone is vulnerable to losing their faith than so are THEY and any amount of doubt in their beliefs is unacceptable. Remember that they have to take every thought captive, if a stray thought or doubt exists it must be "demolished".

I feel that there is massive hypocrisy in these sorts of claims because the entire Christian religion is actually based around losing responsibility for your sins. If I actually wanted to shirk responsibility for my actions I would REMAIN A CHRISTIAN AT ALL COSTS. After all Christians believe that all one needs to do to have ANY deed or sin forgiven (save blaspheming the Holy Spirit) is ask Jesus for forgiveness. The religion is based on Christ, an innocent man, DYING FOR YOUR SINS. Jesus takes your sin from you and many denominations teach that you leave your sins and burdens and pick up the "Cross". A Christian can commit a murder and all they need do for forgiveness is ask Jesus, they don't believe that any actual consequences or judgment from God are in order, once Jesus is accepted and forgiveness is asked for you get a clean slate.

As an atheist, I, on the other hand, understand that I am responsible for my actions in the here and now within society. I know that if I act like a douche chances are people won't like me and that if I do something seriously wrong (like theft, murder, etc) I will go to prison for it. I know that I will be punished here and now in this life for my misdeeds. Now it is important to note that not the entire Christian theology supports irresponsibility for sins, in fact Jesus himself TEACHES RESPONSIBILITY FOR ONE'S OWN ACTIONS. This sort of contradiction should be enough to make your brain explode if you're a Christian and its one of the main reasons that, even when I was a Christian myself, I began to question the truthfulness of the Bible.

Jesus's Teachings:

The foremost example of Jesus teaching about responsibility for your sins is the principle of reaping and sowing. If you do bad things than bad things will happen to you, if you sow good into the world you will reap good back. This makes you responsible for your actions because if you do something bad you will face consequences here and now, not in some far off afterlife. This idea has been compared to Karma in Eastern Philosophy although the two are not entirely alike. Here's another verse where Jesus talks about paying attention to your own sins:

" 1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye." - Matthew 7:1-5

So Jesus says do not judge and pay attention to your own flaws, not the flaws in people you see around you. Does this sound like a guy who wants to remove the speck from your eye? Or does it sound like he wants YOU to be responsible for yourself? You see this teaching contradicts what Christianity later became and the ideas that became prevalent within it. How on Earth can I be responsible for my sin AND have it instantly forgiven and avoid punishment? My own hypothesis is that the entire idea of Jesus dying FOR YOUR SINS is a fabrication although it is difficult to tell what is fact and what is fiction in the Jesus story.

The Requirement of Faith:

One of the more insulting aspects of Christianity is the requirement that we believe on Faith alone. Numerous times in the New Testament we are told that salvation is by faith (and through "Grace"). We must "believe" in Jesus. Rather than actually earning Salvation by being a good person Christianity establishes the idea that we're all worthless lousy sinners and that everyone, from Hitler to Gandhi, has to believe in Jesus on Faith alone to be forgiven. Which one do you have a better chance of seeing in Heaven in the Bible is true? If you answered this guy you'd be right:

The requirement of faith is another part of Christian theology that helps remove responsibility for ones own sin. As long as you show some remorse and ask for forgiveness and BELIEVE you will be cleansed of sin, no punishment required. Some Christians still do believe that God punishes you for sinning, perhaps he makes your wife leave you or lets your car break down, any bad circumstances that crop up are often chalked up to God. Even if you're living your life right and have all the faith in the world when bad stuff comes along it can often be claimed that God is "testing you". Remember Job? Apparently God can mess with you even if you've done nothing wrong... God has a habit of blaming those who are not to blame. Adam and Eve in the Garden, the First Born of Egypt killed for the sins of the Pharaoh and now Jesus tortured brutally despite being entirely innocent. That's right, that's how great of a Father God is, he had his own son brutally murdered rather than punishing those who were actually sinning.


I'm still not entirely sure why some Christians won't accept the idea that I actually left their religion behind but it really grinds my gears when they claim I'm trying to avoid responsibility for my actions. I'm already responsible for my actions and so are you, we're responsible to each other and society at large, no magic man in the sky required.

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