I’ve had a lifelong struggle with religion. Believer? Don’t believer? Yes today, no tomorrow, I don’t know on Wednesday. A religion I’d grown up surrounded by yet doubting soundly, eventually got its hooks in me. I think the fact that I’d grown up such a rebel, surrounded by family that didn’t believe this particular faith, ended up arming me with the fortitude I needed to shake the hook. I now see that faith as absolutely ridiculous, yet I know very intelligent people who believe it, absolutely.
Seems if we grant power to a God, ANYTHING is possible, yes? Even the illogical, yes? Even the impossible? ABSOLUTELY! You see, we have Satan here making the truth look bad, so the truth I recognize is under constant attack by a magical, demonic, entity of immense power, so naturally it’s hard for you to see the truth. Apparently God likes the controversy since he doesn’t step in to correct it. This is why we call it a “test”.
But why does the being of ultimate power, wisdom and understanding, who knows everything, sees the future, knows the end before the beginning, and has no limitations outside of following the laws he, himself created, need to test anything?
Well, he’s doing it for us. Can a God not simply “inject” us with the wisdom needed? Apparently not. Instead he/she/it creates us, places here, gives us an obscure, endlessly debatable, non-provable, illogical, difficult set of guidelines, which he places in the hands of human “messengers/profits/philosophers” to pass on to the rabble and himself, makes no appearance (except to Moses & Joseph Smith). And why? Well, that depends on which messenger/profit/philosopher/scientist/witchdoctor/hoodoo-guru you decide is correct and choose to believe.
Interestingly, I was visited yesterday by a good friend, Jesse, who is a “Christian”. He doesn’t use the label “born-again” but I figure that’s where he stands. We’ve had many “religion” discussions in the past, some of which have been almost frightening, in terms of his attachment to reality. He uses a lot of words to say little… hmm.. does this make me a hypocrite? Still I hold him in high regard. Yesterday he pointed out what he sees as a mistake made by many, the belief that there is a price for redemption.
This places me at the doorstep of a big mystery… Redemption from what? Did God create fallen beings? Was there some sort of pre-existence during which we fell? Is our own simple existence somehow faulty? Were we some sort of mistake? Whatever the answer is, it has to be God’s fault, which would make “redemption” God’s duty (by any typical ethical standard).
Jesse didn’t make this particular argument but the end result, the fact that there is no price for redemption, makes perfect sense in light of this logic. “Bacon, don’t look at it as making a trade. Redemption is done. What you’ve done in the past, and what you’ll do in the future is irrelevant.”
Not having a particularly firm belief in Christ’s actual existence, particularly the deity aspect, I’ve yet been magnificently impressed by his story. The last days in particular. The suffering he endured at the hands of the very people he was suffering for. Even the aspect that I can comprehend weighed against his ability to end it at any time. Mercy amplified!
Although a great deal of the most horrible atrocities in history have been performed in his name, the example he set in the story is peerless mercy, nobility unequaled. Even if Christ is fantasy or fiction, following his example could only be a good. Christ performed miracles of mercy and didn’t require payment. There are no examples of “I’ll cure you if you pay your tithing, if you go to church, if you go on sinlessly…” Nope, what he said was, “freely ye received, freely give.” He did, however say, “your faith has healed you”. So the closest thing I see to a price is belief or faith and I don’t know if even that is attached to redemption. If we are indeed the products of a deity, belief seems a small price to pay for redemption.
Unfortunately, due to a lifetime of being surrounded by multitudinous misrepresentations, a great many conducted by the “religious”, my belief vault is empty. Nevertheless, I deeply respect the principles Christ represents and so I’ll go forward and believe as best I can, follow as nearly as possible the example of humanity set by Christ.
Come on now! I see that sneer…