Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mysticism, Superstition and Christianity

One of the things that Christians often say to reassure themselves and each other is that Christianity isn't an ordinary religion; that it's somehow special. Some even say that Christianity isn't a religion at all because of how fundamentally different it supposedly is from all over religions.

To those on the outside of the cult this claim seems utterly absurd. Christianity is one of three Abrahamic faiths built on the same foundation - JUDAISM. About two thirds of the Christian scriptures are actually older Jewish works with the New Testament only making up twenty-seven books of the Bible which has a total of sixty-six (some versions have more or less). Even within the New Testament constant reference is made to the Old Testament, so in what way do Christians contend that their religion is different, it's just Judaism plus a sprinkle of their own flavor.

Within this little extra portion the Christians have Jesus who is usually a big part of the argument that Christianity is different, because rather than getting into heaven on the merit of whether or not you do great things or are a good person Jesus offers his life and salvation even to the most wicked and fallen among us. This policy of vicarious redemption, this suspension of justice and wrath to save the wicked, is meant to make God seem more loving or merciful but actually it turns God's judgment into a complete joke.

God is said to be just and yet he is willing that a murderer get into Heaven for the act of accepting this sacrifice but not willing that someone who gives their whole life to helping others but dies without accepting should get in. Let's say there is a soldier in the second World War who happens to be a believing Jew but who has not accepted Christ and he gives his life fighting to free his brothers and sisters from the clutches of the Nazis and protects the entire free world with his sacrifice. This man who fought and died for the freedom and well being of others would go to Hell in most versions of Christianity for the mere act of not accepting the impossible tale of Jesus. In an ironic twist this Jewish man would be tortured for eternity for staying true to the version of Yahweh he was taught in the Jewish scriptures and rejecting the false Messiah Jesus Christ.

The idea that God shows preferential treatment only to those who grovel repentant at his feet and revokes mercy from any who don't no matter their character or actions makes Christianity absurdly unjust. Christians celebrate this, however, and look at it as one of the advantages of Christianity. Indeed this doctrine does help Christianity bring people in by taking advantage of the guilt of those in our society who have done something wrong. This is why prison evangelism is so strong and why conversions in prison are so common, because Christianity has made itself appealing to criminals.

But to those who aren't a part of the super secret club of Christianity the whole doctrine makes it repugnant and even more so when you consider the price, an innocent man's life. Christians claim to love Christ while in the same breath hoisting their sins gladly onto his shoulders so they can walk away without the burden of their guilt scot-free. If they truly knew Jesus and loved him would they not choose, instead, to take the punishment they deserved? In truth they love Jesus only because he did something for them, only because in his blood they are set free, and they happily WASH themselves in the blood of an innocent man.

Symbolism, Structure and Myth

Another point on which Christians insist is that their religion has better archaeology to back it up than any other. This is a heavily debatable point especially since no archaeologist has ever uncovered proof of the supernatural claims of any religion. So no religion stands on better footing when it comes to proving the reality of their supernatural claims.

Often we see Christian apologists like Lee Strobel, William Lane Craig, etc trying to make the historical case for Jesus as if it isn't enough to take it on faith as if there need be proof. Rather than own up to the fact that they believe it in spite of its absurd claims they attempt to establish, laughably, that the superstitious conjurations of their sacred texts are not just the writings of adherents and zealots but are historical accounts worth taking seriously.

Jesus, they say, isn't just a figure from their faith, but is a real historical figure who really performed magical miraculous deeds and really rose again. In doing this however Christians miss out on the big slam-dunk home-run aspect of their faith that makes them just another religion - the use of spooky superstitious horseshit and symbolism.

What makes the Gospels myth and not historical accounts is their use of symbolism, allegory, themes and story-telling techniques that seem at home in mythology but make no sense when taken out of context and reinterpreted to be literal truth. Take, for example, the arbitrary period that Jesus stays in the tomb.

Christians will say that it was three days, but Jesus died on Friday and was raised on Sunday, the real amount of time he was dead is one day, he simply "rose on the third day". Now if Jesus really was the son of God and really lived in real historical times what in the fuck was the point of staying dead for a day? What took Jesus so long to come back to life?

Now some might say, "he went down to Hell and redeemed souls who had died before he came" but this is actually a legend invented hundreds of years into Christianity it's not in the Gospels. The answer is symbolism and story structure. Think about the dynamics of what happens in the story. The Disciples are torn, beaten, Peter has cursed Christ before the cock crows, they are back in Jerusalem moping around. They believe Jesus is dead and buried. This is a low point in the story, it's a moment of doubt where no one knows what to believe anymore, and then, like the sun rising again after the darkest night, Jesus returns.

And the Gospels all tell it differently. John, the latest Gospel written, has Thomas still doubting until he sticks a finger in Jesus' wounds. The original version of Mark dramatically and mysteriously ends on a cliff-hangar where the women find the tomb empty, talk to an enigmatic man and then simply scatter in fear.

The story of the dying and rising hero is so common throughout ancient times and even today in our modern myths and stories we always have a moment where our heroes look beaten only to rise from the ashes.

What other reason can there be for the delay?

In fact why would Jesus need to have died at all, in reality the idea of washing in his blood is SYMBOLIC, it's a spiritual concept, not a physical one. The idea that this MUST BE a real retelling of the real adventures of a real flesh-and-blood savior is absurd and the idea that somehow the existence of these intricately woven pieces of mythology is evidence of a historical Jesus is highly questionable at best. That isn't to say no one ever existed to inspire some of the legends rather I am saying that Christians miss the forest for the trees.

Superstition is a sign of Humanity's Design

The Old Testament is riddled with superstitious rituals and absurd claims. Witches and necromancers are considered real things and there are strict rules for "ritual cleanliness" that, if not followed, can result in you being a target for the wrath of God himself. There are, of course, detailed instructions on how to butcher an animal and make it an offering for Yahweh, and how to sprinkle its blood and arrange its organs to best please God.

Why would this be part of your religion? If you indeed claim that this God of the Old Testament is the same one you serve why in the hell did he require such bizarre and barbaric things as animal sacrifices? Why does he bear such a striking resemblance to an invention of the human mind, a warlike plague-bringer who sits upon a throne and demands the smell of burning flesh to appease his anger - AND YOU THINK THIS BETTER than ancient pagan faiths? You think this superior?

There is only one description I can think of for such practices - superstition. The sort of thing that makes people throw salt over their shoulder or take care not to walk under a ladder - the idea that somehow the rules of reality are governed by unseen forces that can be appeased or manipulated through the use of ritual or magic. And the Old Testament claims that magic, curses, speaking to the dead and bringing the dead back to life are all possible even without God and any who do these dark things are to be put to death.

Even in the New Testament rituals like Communion are set up, a symbolic act of mock cannibalism where you take in a part of the savior's flesh and blood. Many sects of Christianity today have other rituals, such as baptism, and let's not forget that both Jews and Christians cut the foreskin off of their male children, an act of ritualistic mutilation.

The point of bringing all this up is to make Christians wonder whether or not there is any reason to take all this stuff literally or to consider it necessary to read the Bible as if it is a history book. Apologists work hard to make Christianity sound somewhat historical to help ease the doubts of believers who treat the existence of God and the salvation of Christ as intellectual matters rather than merely spiritual ones. But all of those attempts fail utterly when you bring up the bizarre superstitions of the Old and New Testament, the fact that so many stories are riddled with impossible feats and mythic heroes and told with structure, symbolism and lessons to the story.

The question is, at the center of this very man-made religion with so much superstition and mythology, at it's core, are you confident that there is actually a God there?

When I dug down and read between the lines I found Christianity to be an invention of mankind and I have yet to see any evidence that it's beliefs mean anything outside of what they mean to those who already believe. Christians are welcome to the spiritual aspects of their faith, as empty as they may seem to me, but when they start asserting that it is real beyond their own belief in it they will butt up against those outside the cult who see it for what it is.

If you are a Christian and by some chance you stumbled upon this I'd ask that you do research. Read your Bible and study where it came from, how it was put together, how much it was changed and what it actually says. Don't take my word for it but also don't swallow down what some apologist or pastor says without questioning it. Remember that doubt is not something to be feared and no God worth a damn would ever punish you for it.

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