A thoughtful person with whom I dialogued on the www and through email said to me: “If you would like to know why I have rejected Christianity, I will be glad to tell you. Here are some [of my] reasons:”
1. In all of the OT there is not one word about anyone being tortured for eternity for not being a “good” person. Apparently the OT God was satisfied with seeing his enemies lie as carrion upon the fields, but the so-called “good news” of the NT is that this same God will now pursue his enemies beyond the grave with NEVER-ENDING torments in hell. Besides, it seems supremely contradictory to me that the same god who tells us to love and forgive OUR enemies says that he will eternally torment his!!
2. The Jewish people, who started all of this, NEVER expected that the Messiah, when he came, to be the Almighty God. Most Christians have made a god out of Jesus and in so doing realize that they have forfeited the unique monotheism of the OT… But, hold on… they thought they could solve the problem of their celestial mathematics, stating that one plus one plus one is NOT three, but one!
3. Jesus could not have been the Messiah, for the OT clearly states that the Messiah would usher in world peace etc. The opposite happened. But Christians thought they had saved the day with their doctrine of the “second coming.” Without it, Christianity would have died long ago. The parousia teaching is simply that we are to be patient, all the things that Jesus never fulfilled will be taken care of when he comes again. And there is clear evidence that Jesus and his followers thought that he would return in the lifetime of his followers. 2000 years have just about passed and they’re still expecting it!!!
4. The justice system of Christianity is monstrously and fiendishly absurd. Most people would rightfully assume that a FINITE sin does NOT deserve INFINITE punishment. The reward system consists of only two eventual destinations. One, the most blissful and happy, the other, the most horrible and tormenting. Is there nothing in between?
5. Why did Jesus have to die? God’s creation turned out bad, we are told. So what to do! In order to make things right, someone had to be murdered!! If we believe the Trinity doctrine, we are left to believe that God arranged to have himself murdered in order to placate himself! Patently absurd!! The doctrine of the atonement is nothing but a replay of pervious PAGAN religions with their angry gods, need for sacrifices and bloody altars.
6. I believe that a person should be judged by what he/she does… not by what one believes. Most of us acquire our belief orientation as a result of our inherited genes, our parental upbringing and our environment. Besides, a person could spend an entire lifetime doing good works, helping others and giving most of his possessions to the needy, but end up in hell, when he died, if he failed to believe in Jesus! While a person could spend a life of 80 years, killing, committing arson, stealing etc. and end up in heaven for an eternity of bliss, if just a few minutes before he died, he accepted Jesus!
7. NO ONE HAS EVER ASKED TO BE BORN into this world with its many conflicting religions, having to choose the right one, or face never-ending torments in hell!! It seems to me that if your religion is true, the least that your God could do would be to mercifully eliminate all of the non-Christian religions. But… that would still leave literally hundreds of Christian bodies, some of which regard the others as of the devil!!!
8. The Christian religion should really be called PAULIANITY, because Paul was the one who tied in the untimely murder of Jesus with the temple sacrifices of the Hebrews.
9. And I could never accept the Bible as the inerrant word of God, because I believe that the all-knowing god could, and would, have caused to be written a book that did NOT need endless apologetics!
10. And finally, I believe that an all-loving God will REHABILITATE instead of eternally damn most of HIS OWN CREATION, the SAME THING, I’ll bet that you’d do with all of your wayward offspring!!
How do we answer these penetrating questions?
I will approach my response in three ways: