About a week ago, I came across the following "Come to God" page: http://www.everystudent.com/features/gettingconnected.html
(I'm sure they'll thank me for the page visits - or perhaps not if they read the rest of this.)
I saw the illustrations and points made in the article throughout my life, and now I feel the burning need to tear this fictitious nonsense to pieces. Perhaps it is simply a cathartic exercise for me. Perhaps I'm just an asshole. Maybe a little of both.
UPDATE: Here's a link to the revised version.
I grew up in a Christian household, and have since rejected all of it as pure fantasy. Christianity, along with all other religions, is nothing more than modern day mythology - no different than the ancients believing in Osiris, Odin or Zeus. If you disagree, then I have only three words for you: Prove me wrong.
But you may do so only after you have read the following. :-)
Let's start with the article's intro:
|What does it take to begin a relationship with God?
Wait for lightning to strike? Devote yourself to unselfish religious deeds? Become a better person so that God will accept you? NONE of these. God has made it very clear in the Bible how we can know Him. This will explain how you can personally begin a relationship with God, right now...</span>
The lead in, of course, is that you must accept Jesus.
Now on to Principle One:
|Principle One: God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
God created you. Not only that, he loves you so much that he wants you to know him now and spend eternity with him. Jesus said, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."1
Jesus came so that each of us could know and understand God in a personal way. Jesus alone can bring meaning and purpose to life.
What keeps us from knowing God? ...
(Note: I have left in the footnote numbers, but did not add the footnotes at the end. If you want the footnotes, click on the article's link at the top)
See, God's love is unconditional. And by 'unconditional', I mean that you must accept the crucially important condition of accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you don't, God sees you as the rotten, stinking sinner that you are - because he loves you. Oh, and also you get to go to Hell when you die if you don't accept that condition. So uh, yeah, like I said he loves you UNconditionally.
God also so loved the world, that he destroyed it in a "great flood" and gave his stamp of approval for genocide and infanticide.
"The people of Samaria must bear the consequences of their guilt because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed by an invading army, their little ones dashed to death against the ground, their pregnant women ripped open by swords." (Hosea 13:16 NLT)
At least he didn't exclude killing his own kid. (But only because he knew he was coming back to life later. Guess those Samarian babies were just shit outta luck, eh?)
Remember: he LOVES you. If he loves us, then why does he condone genocide and infanticide? Well, that's easy. We're dumb, and he's smart. We're just too dumb to know what's best, so just sit back and accept that you're just too stupid to understand God's ways. Always remember, God knows best, and he loves you.
|Principle Two: All of us sin and our sin has separated us from God.
We sense that separation, that distance from God because of our sin. The Bible tells us that "All of us like sheep have gone astray; each of us has turned to his own way."2
Deep down, our attitude may be one of active rebellion or passive indifference toward God and his ways, but it's all evidence of what the Bible calls sin.
The result of sin in our lives is death -- spiritual separation from God.3 Although we may try to get close to God through our own effort, we inevitably fail.
This diagram shows the great gap that exists between us and God. The arrows illustrate how we might try to reach God through our own efforts. We may try to do good things in life, or earn God's acceptance through a good life or a moral philosophy. But our good efforts are insufficient to cover up our sin.
How can we bridge this gulf?...
I love this part. Really, I do. I love how the Bible calls people sheep, because that's what we are to God. Dirty, dirty little sheep.
The principle illustrates the predatory nature of religion. Feeling lost and confused? Not getting any satisfaction from your life? Do you try and try and still feel like you're going nowhere? Well, that's because you're a dirty, dirty sheep. But fear not! Help is on the way...!
|Principle Three: Jesus Christ is God's only provision for our sin. Through him we can know and experience God's love and plan for our life.
We deserve to pay for our own sin. The problem is, the payment is death. So that we would not have to die separated from God, out of his love for us, Jesus Christ died in our place. On the cross, Jesus took all of our sin on himself and completely, fully paid for it. "For Christ also died for sins...the just for the unjust, so that he might bring us to God."4 "...he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy."5 Because of Jesus' death on the cross, our sin doesn't have to separate us from God any longer.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life."6
Jesus not only died for our sin, he rose from the dead.7 When he did, he proved beyond doubt that he can rightfully promise eternal life -- that he is the Son of God and the only means by which we can know God. That is why Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life; no one can come to the Father except through me."8
Instead of trying harder to reach God, he tells us how we can begin a relationship with him right now. Jesus says, "Come to me." "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me... out of his heart will flow rivers of living water."9 It was Jesus' love for us that caused him to endure the cross. And he now invites us to come to him, that we might begin a personal relationship with God.
Just knowing what Jesus has done for us and what he is offering us is not enough. To have a relationship with God, we need to welcome him into our life...
It just gets better and better, folks. God loves us, but will kill us unless we accept Jesus. Nothing says 'love' like the threat of death, right? Ok, so because he loves us, he decided to kill his kid. Since compassion and education were right out, he HAD to kill SOMEBODY, right? He is, after all, God, and we all know God loves his killin' (see above about genocide and infanticide)! Anyway, he uses us to kill his own kid to make us dirty little sheep look somewhat presentable in his eyes. What a stand up guy, eh? But don't worry, his kid comes back to life a few days later, so it wasn't really that much of a sacrifice. It's not like there are people in Africa right at this moment who suffering a longer, more agonizing death than Jesus, right? Oh wait.. bad example.
I'm not even going to go into the resurrection stuff since if you don't see how blatantly obvious the mythology is in that, you're beyond hope. I'll only add three more words on this topic: Osiris, Isis and Horus. (Look it up)
Ok, so we've established that being a good person won't get you into heaven. So of course that begs the question, why bother being good? I think a lot of religious people asked themselves the very same question. From Holy Wars to 9/11, to the oppression of women and homosexuals, I think we all know the answer to that by looking at world history. It takes religion to take something ugly into something sickening beyond comprehension. As far as being good goes, anybody can be good, but only religion said it doesn't count unless you believe in their brand of fairy tales. I can guarantee that some human being along the way will thank you for being a good person. You ain't gonna get that from God unless you drink his brand of Kool-Aid.
Now for my favorite part. I love the illustration. CLEARLY we can see there is no way to get to heaven unless you go over the "Jesus bridge". Well guess what? Here are some EQUALLY good examples. And look! I made pictures, too!
|Principle Four: We must individually accept Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.
The Bible says, "Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."10
We accept Jesus by faith. The Bible says, "God saved you by his special favour when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it."11
Accepting Jesus means believing that Jesus is the Son of God, who he claimed to be, then inviting him to guide and direct our lives.12 Jesus said, "I came that you might have life, and have it more abundantly."13
And here is Jesus' invitation. He said, "I'm standing at the door and I'm knocking. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in."14
How will you respond to God's invitation?
Consider these two circles:
Which circle best represents your life?
Which circle would you like to have represent your life?
Begin a relationship with Jesus...
It's easy to sum up this principle: You're an idiot who can't make you're own decisions, so let your imaginary friend Jesus do it for you.
But I'll tell what this all REALLY means: Listen to your conscience.
Period. That's it.
When you're asking yourself "WWJD?", you're really asking YOURSELF what is the right thing to do? An imaginary friend is completely superfluous (at best!) to this process.
What the above illustrates is the introduction of religion into the "right and wrong" process. Religion can't flourish unless you are subjugated, therefore, it states that you are incapable of doing the right thing without it. Thankfully there are many religious leaders ready, willing and eager to steer you in the right direction. Be it the Pope who shuffles pedophiles around, to Billy Graham who encourages you to donate 10% of your income to the church (Did you know that God was broke? Neither did I!) or Osama bin Laden who guarantees 72 virgins upon you blowing yourself up along with the infidels for Allah.
Life is nothing but a series of decisions, some of which are difficult and painful. As Wesley from Princess Bride once said "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." Christianity, along with all other religions in general, is nothing but the best sales pitch ever made. The article in question above is just the brochure that comes with it.
Final notes: Before you ask me "Why do you hate God?", understand this: I don't hate something that doesn't exist. What I *do* hate is people believing fiction over facts. Believing in God takes away the credibility of the general goodness of mankind, as well taking our dark side and making it 100x more atrocious. Religion brings nothing to the table other than fantasy, subjugation and stone-age thinking. From Galileo to Darwin, to stem-cell research, nothing has hindered advances in science more than religion. From homosexuals being beaten to death, to women covered up and living in silent fear, nothing has propagated more hate and subjugation than religion. I'm not saying that all these bad things wouldn't exist were religion wiped out or never existed, but I am saying that they wouldn't exist as long, nor as intensely. And that is what I am most angered about.