Why I could never be a Christian

RidiculousIn Through The Looking Glass, And What Alice Found There, Lewis Carroll has the White Queen boast that in her youth she could believe ‘six impossible things before breakfast’. Pfa! Only six? Today’s Christian can beat that with ease, and not only before breakfast!

To be a Christian you must accept through faith, and contrary to the evidence, that:

  • there is a reality above and beyond nature wherein exist angels, archangels, devils, demons, principalities (whatever they are), spirits (holy and otherwise) and God himself;

  • virgins can conceive and give birth;

  • a man who died 2,000 years ago is still alive;

  • this man could, when he lived, defy gravity; control the weather; sweat blood; reanimate corpses (his own included); pass through solid objects and project himself into space;

  • an intangible part of everyone survives death;

  • believing in a magic formula (‘Christ died for me’ or similar) leads to eternal life;

  • after death, believers will live again in an improved copy of the body they had when alive;

  • God reversed the laws on which the universe operates to make all of this possible, because he wanted to sacrifice a part of himself to himself;

  • he can do this because he is God;

  • he prompted men to explain his plan in a special book;

  • all you have to do to live forever is believe this book is true.

In addition to ‘essential’ beliefs like these, there are still more that Christians choose to accept on faith, add-ons that Christians are invited to see as the underpinning of ‘important’ doctrines. While not absolutely crucial, they are recommended as a means of adhering to (uncorroborated) biblical truth. Consequently, we find Christians who believe that:

  • God created the universe 6,000 years ago (because this is the time-scale that can be calculated from the Bible’s genealogies);

  • dinosaurs and humans co-existed (because this must be the case if the creation stories in Genesis are literally true);

  • evolution didn’t happen; God created the Earth and everything on it in just six days.

  • reality can be changed by the simple expedient of asking God to change it (prayer);

  • God directly controls the weather (omnipotence/divine irritability);

  • Jesus is coming back – with a selection of scenarios available to true believers about what this will be like (the second coming);

  • all unbelievers will be consigned to hell / oblivion / annihilation: again, take your pick (judgement).

There is not one scrap of evidence outside the special book that any of these items of faith are true. None is verifiable, and consequently none has ever been verified (accounts written inter-dependently fifty years after the alleged miracle-man lived don’t count).

There is, on the other hand, overwhelming evidence that virgins don’t conceive; that there is no agency behind the weather and natural disasters; that nothing of an individual’s self survives death and that dead bodies stay dead. This has always been the case and always will be. It was how nature operated two thousand years ago when all of the ‘essential’ items of faith, invented by the kinds of mind that believed earthquakes and floods were deliberate acts of God, were gaining currency.

Though I once did, I can’t subscribe to any of these ridiculously ‘impossible things’ in the vain hope that I might live forever.

Can you?

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