“ Christianity: The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree. ”
“ If you emerge from seminary still believing in God, you haven't been paying attention. ”
“ Seminary is where God goes to die. ”
What is Christianity?
History of Christianity
Did Jesus ever exist?
What are heaven & hell like?
Why did Jesus die?
Christianity causes at least as much harm worldwide as Islam, but it has fewer pages here. I have started to address this imbalance.
This section is about Christianity as a set of beliefs and practices that assume a personal god. (A god that does at least one of: listening to prayers and acting upon some of them; performing miracles on one's behalf; and/or providing an experienced after-life). It is not about Christianity as social or cultural practices where belief in such a god is irrelevant, for example enjoying Christmas, singing "Jerusalem", or attending rites of passage in church for friendship or social reasons.
“ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. ”
Articles about Christianity on this web site
What is Christianity?
There is probably no useful statement about Christianity that would be agreed by all people who regard themselves as Christians. People who regard themselves as Christians certainly disagree about which of them are Christians!
Christianity is perhaps best thought of as a "brand", or a sort of loose franchise built around a brand.
Jesus was born a Jew, lived as a Jew, taught as a Jew, was executed by the Romans for claims about his being the 'king of the Jews' and he died a Jew.
What is the Christian God like?
Commentators are often criticised for not discussing the God that followers really believe in:
"You have created a strawman version of our God so that you can criticise Him."
"So what is your God like?"
"God is an ineffable, numinous, all-loving creating Spirit who transcends time and space, and is not knowable or even definable to mortals like us."
"Why do you object to abortion, contraception, stem cell research, gay partnerships, and/or assisted suicide?"
"Because the Bible is the word of God and tells us these things are wrong."
"It always mystifies me that people who claim that God works in mysterious ways are nevertheless so certain about his motives."
"Metaphor is not a magic get-out-of-stupid card."
Why did Jesus die?
"I would say that if you don't believe that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ and Messiah, and that he rose again from the dead and by his sacrifice our sins are forgiven, you're really not in any meaningful sense a Christian."
The simple version was "Adam and Eve sinned. Their offspring inherited their sin. Someone had to die for this sin. So Jesus died on the cross as a penalty or atonement to save us all from inherited sin".
But "modern" Christians don't believe Adam and Eve actually existed! (I'm not discussing the lunatic fringe such as Creationists). So Adam and Eve couldn't sin. So there never was such inherited sin. So there is no need for atonement, no basis for the concept of a "son of god", and no need for a church to aid atonement. (Besides, why can't a god capable of creating a whole universe simply achieve the same end by dictat?)
So: Why did Jesus die? And why do Christians celebrate such a ghastly death?
(Some even claim to eat his flesh and drink his blood each week! Do they acknowledge being cannibals?)
There is no logical reason why people with beliefs across the whole Christian spectrum should come to the same conclusion that "Jesus died for our sins". Instead, what appears to happen is that arguments (see panel on right) start with the pre-supposition that Jesus died for our sins, then attempt desperate post-hoc rationalisation of something that doesn't stand up to objective intelligent scrutiny.
(In a calm, quiet voice): "Why did Jesus die?"
"Why are you so hateful and strident? Why are you so offensive and upsetting to people? Why can't you just keep your immoral beliefs to yourself?"
The nasty Jesus
The god of the Old Testament is probably the most evil character in the whole of human literature. Jesus is a chip off the old block, and had his own nasty side!
NIV: Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.
KJ: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.
To be continued ...!
10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs - though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.