Sunday, January 8, 2012

Reasons To Disbelieve

Continuing the Series "Why Religion Will Soon Be Obsolete"

Basic points covered thus far include: Religion replaced the enlightenment that was once widespread on the Earth, and it tends to displace true spirituality. People are often drawn to religion because they sense there is more to life then the material world, but the spiritual answers received from religion are false or incomplete.

Christianity claims to have an exclusive corner on spiritual truth, based on the assumption that they follow the "One True God" and that their Bible is the "One True Source of Teaching and Inspiration". They are intolerent toward any other spiritual teaching, and teach that everyone who rejects their teachings will experience God's wrath as they burn forever in Hell.

Christianity claims to have been founded by followers of Jesus that knew him while alive, as well as those who had visions of him after his death (such as the Apostle Paul). Even if these claims are accepted on face value, there are serious internal inconsistancies when the Blbilical accounts are scrutinized. Also, when looked at through broader historical context, the basic tenets of Christian belief crop up repeatedly in older religions, as if ancient traditions were plagarized and blended into a composite Roman Catholic faith.

There is even room for serious doubt that the historical Jesus even existed. Certainly there were "wisdom teachers" of that era offering worthy material such as found in "The Sermon on the Mount", and it's plausible that one or more "Zealot" types were executed for stirring rebellion against Rome based on Jewish Messianic prophecies. The Jesus of the Gospels could easily be an assembled composite of these.

To summarize my perspective, here is my list of...
Reasons to Disbelieve
(Couldn’t resist the pun on a common phrase used by Christian apologetics websites)

·         Christianity is based on human concepts and borrows from older Greco-Roman “mystery” religions, such as Mithraism, Eleusian & Dionysian mysteries, and the Phrygian cult of Cybele. Early Church leaders such as Tertullian and Irenaeus were aware this was a problem, and so resorted to claims that the Devil went back in time to plant Christian teaching in the older mysteries. "Diabolic Mimicry" was the term they used in acknowleging these startling parallels.

·         Christianity constructs and projects an all-powerful theistic God with many human characteristics (emotions ranging from love to angry vengeance to hatred,  often jealous and violent-sounding)

·         Christianity teaches that the creator places us on Earth for one lifetime, and we will face eternal damnation if we fail to pass the narrow set of criteria that they preach.

·         Christianity teaches that the entire Bible was inspired by God, yet the composition of the New Testament was arrived at through wrangling by powerful competing factions at the Council of Nicea. The Old Testament contains many references to God commanding the slaughter of men, women and children along with other unthinkable atrocities. It is difficult to square the “God is Love” message of the Gospels with the violence and hatred spewing forth from the Old Testament God.

·         The Gospels were supposedly derived from first-hand oral or written accounts of the life of Jesus in Palestine, but they were written hundreds of years later in another language (Greek) by people living in other parts of the world (Greece, Turkey or Asia Minor).

·         The Gospels follow a liturgical pattern that suggests that they were written to conform to Old Testament prophetic literature concerning the expected advent of the Messiah (anointed king). Liturgy and history are not the same thing.

·         As much as Protestants may distance themselves from Catholicism, the Bible and the core of their teachings and traditions have a common ancestry, having passed through the narrow sieve of the early Roman Catholic Church.

·         There is scant historical support for the Gospel narrative, and no “chain of custody” linking purported events in the Gospel with the earliest  written manuscripts. Christian apologists and theologians engage in an amazing spectacle of “circular reasoning” in their defense of the Faith.

·         Christianity disempowers adherents by teaching that we are sinful, worthless and utterly helpless outside of their system of authority.

Next in the series: Faith Defined

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