Strange Family Conversations VII23 May, 2008
I spent the day at work arguing with a recalcitrant computer (it doesn’t help that one of my fellow cubicle rats keeps saying “If you had an Apple, that wouldn’t happen” every time my computer freezes up). (((Wife))) worked her street corner this morning and then again this afternoon. (Son) is at work, (Daughter) is at a hockey game. This means it is just (((Wife))) and I, home alone together. This meant we could have a serious dinner discussion (BLT’s on rice bread, with spuddies) without the danger of it going off in a bizarre teenage direction. We discussed the concept of ‘God works in mysterious ways.’ A school bus goes off an overpass and ten students die: part of God’s ineffable plan. An earthquake kills 50,000: part of God’s plan. A tropical cyclone kills 100,000 in Myanmar/Burma: part of God’s plan.
If everything that happens is part of God’s miraculous plan to save the world (well, not the world, just Christians (well, not all Christians, just the ones who believe exactly the right things about exactly the right things (and He won’t tell you which things are right and which are wrong))). So (((Wife))) asked a really good question: “Why do churches have fire exits?” If a church burns, and the parishioners die in a horrible conflagration, isn’t this part of God’s plan? Or does ‘God helps those who help themselves’ trump ‘God’s wondrous plan?’
Commenters on this blog, and other bloggers, have referred to Christianity as a ‘Death Cult.’ When I first read the phrase, I was unsure what was meant. As I continue to research religion, as I try to fathom the destructiveness of organized religion on a national and global scale, I have begun to understand (though there are elements which I will never grok). Christians (at least the fundamentalist and literalist ones) are waiting for death, while praying that they don’t screw up and piss off the Big Kahuna. Dying young, while you are still pure, is a good bet.
By my understanding of fundamentalist Christianity, humanity (either as individuals or as a race) cannot possibly win. The Bible tells how to live one’s life (it’s the Word Of God!). But the instructions are contradictory; the instructions are muddled; the instructions are unclear (I once built a limited-run plastic model of a Serversky P-35 with the same type of instructions — it was, to say the least, frustrating). Add to this, the idea that all humans are, by their very nature, sinful. Unless each individual is saved in exactly the right way, they are doomed no matter how good they are. A mass murderer may go to heaven based on his ‘personal relationship’ with God; a good Samaritan who spends his life helping others goes to Hell, again, based on his lack of the same relationship.
Additionally, all works of man are inherently flawed. We are hopelessly flawed creations, and all that we create isworth nothing in the eye’s of God. All that we create, all that we make and, all that we learn contributes to the damnation of the human soul. The collapse of a bridge in Minnesota is not only part of God’s plan, it is proof that we as humans are flawed. The failure of the levies in New Orleans is not only part of God’s plan, it is proof of the sinfulness of human government.
Which brings me back to (((Wife’s))) question: “Why do they have fire exits in a church?” Well, the government says the building has to have them. But governments are a work of man and are therefore sinful and flawed. The fire exits will save lives in the event of a fire. But the fire is part of God’s plan, and interfering with God’s plan is why we are all sinful. The arguments go ’round and ’round (which is appropriate, as most religious arguments are circular). Maybe the people in the church were meant to die, which means we, as humans, are interfering with the plan.
(((Wife))) and I go to work. We pay our taxes. We try to guide our children so they will become useful, productive, and fulfilled adults. We try to make a difference. Yet according to the form of Christianity followed by a significant proportion of American citizens (including our President), (((Wife))) and I are damned to eternal damnation in a damn hot place because we are atheists. Were we unemployed, skipping out on our taxes, raising reprobates, and isolating ourselves from the world refusing to make a difference, but belonged to the right church and believing the right thing, we would be saved and would spend eternity singing hoseahs, waiving palm branches, eating jello and whipped cream desert, and basking in the presence of God.
Why have a fire escape in a church? Why try to improve the world when it is all sin? Why try to save lives? Just isolate yourself, and wait for death.
And believers call atheism hopeless.