It’s Only Make Believe

godsatan

All you have to do to become a Christian/be saved from sin/gain eternal life is to accept Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.

Except, it isn’t.

You’ve also to put your faith in the Bible, acknowledging it’s God’s word in some form or other. It would be impossible to be a Christian without it; you’re required  to read it, let the Holy Spirit or one of God’s chosen instruments here on Earth interpret it for you and you’ve to live by it.

And this, in turn, entails believing in the menagerie of supernatural creatures and invisible realms the Bible assumes exist. Angels and demons we considered last time, and then there’s –

The Risen Christ who sits at the hand of the Father. He sits? He’s like a real body, but at the same time not a real body? A spiritual body, then, who metaphorically ‘sits’ next to –

God the Father, whom no human has ever seen (confirmed by John 1.18 but contradicted by Genesis 32.20) who abides in –

Heaven, a place no-one has ever seen. No, really, no-one. Not even those people who have hallucinated about being there. Hallucinations, dreams, visions, even so-called out of body experiences, are not evidence Heaven exists. They’re evidence that people sometimes hallucinate, dream and have visions and out of body experiences. The same is true of ‘sightings’ of God himself and of –

The Holy Spirit. That’s the part of God Christians dupe themselves into thinking has moved in inside them to guide them through their Christian life. That’s the same Holy Spirit who’s guided God’s Chosen to create 34,000 different distinct interpretations of the Truth. Even now, the Spirit is leading church after church down the road of apostasy, according to those he also leads to condemn them. Confused yet? It all makes sense if you recognise that it’s all imaginary, created by human beings who didn’t and don’t know any better. Like –

Satan is. He’s the character who evolves during the course of Bible until he’s a cross between Lex Luthor and the Joker; God’s arch-enemy. He only ‘exists’ to get God off the hook. All the bad in the word can’t be God’s fault now, can it? Somebody’s got to carry the can and it sure isn’t YHWH. So Satan, the devil, gets to be the embodiment of evil. Which isn’t to say evil doesn’t exist because it does, but it’s not caused by this third-rate Dick Dastardly. Nor is –

The Anti-Christ. This is the guy Christians believe will appear at the end of the age, some time around AD 100 according to Revelation 14.9-10. Never mind his creator there calls him something else entirely (‘the Beast’ as it happens); unless he’s finally arrived in the shape of Donald J. Trump, he’s no more real than –

Those who’ve died (‘the saints’ according to Catholics) and have been given new, magic bodies in Heaven or –

Those who’ve died and have gone to Hell to be tortured forever. That’s because –

Hell doesn’t exist either.

Nor do seraphim (Isaiah 6.2), cherubim (Hebrews 9.5), dragons (Psalm 148.7), satyrs (Isaiah 13.21) or unicorns (Numbers 23.22 etc) .

How do we know these beings, places and states don’t exist? Well, they’re all invisible, intangible, undetectable, unverifiable, supernatural (literally, ‘outside nature’), and, ultimately, unconvincing. They’re rejects from far more interesting mythologies that abounded in the ancient world. Today’s mythologies – of Middle Earth, Game of Thrones and the innumerable virtual worlds of computer games – are far more plausible (and even then, not very).

The supernatural doesn’t exist; everything we know is part of a physical universe. There is no evidence anything exists outside, alongside or in addition to that universe. (Though if you think there is evidence for the supernatural – and I mean evidence, not ‘feelings’, personal experiences or ancient texts – then please make it known in the comments).

There is an abundance of evidence, however, that –

Human beings are rather good at inventing stories and mythologies;

Their psychology inclines them to inner imaginings;

They are largely irrational and with a tendency to attribute agency to inanimate objects, phenomena and the chimera of their own imagining;

They have a fear of death and their own personal extinction.

How could religion, with all of its make-believe, not fail to materialise under such conditions? And how can anyone in this day and age take it seriously, knowing what we do now?

I know I can’t.

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The End Times Are Here! Again.

livelyWhat does the future hold? It’s difficult to say, really, when the future isn’t, as Doris Day once so very wisely expressed it, ours to see. That doesn’t stop Christians from claiming they can though. They know exactly what the future holds, they insist, because the Bible tells them so.

There are at least two problems with this claim, the first being that the Bible’s predictions were written by men with as little ability to see the future as anyone alive today. The second is that their prophecies, like all other predictions, are suitably nebulous. It’s easier to see vague, non-specific claims come true when you can add the details yourself at a later date.

So it is for anti-gay pastor Scott Lively, who, incidentally, wishes to make it known that he’d prefer not to be referred to as anti-gay. This, of course, rests entirely in the anti-gay pastor’s own hands, though you’ll not be able to tell him so as he doesn’t allow comments on his blog. Christian leaders must never be contradicted!

The Reverend Lively, as well as being anti-gay, reckons that abortion, multi-culturalism, international discord and gay marriage are, in all likelihood, paving the way for the Anti-Christ and, ultimately, the end of everything. God is going to get so angry with the good ol’ US of A for all these things that he’s going to bring about the end times prophesied in the Bible.

The Reverend is quick to say he doesn’t know this for certain because God hasn’t actually told him so directly (why not, Scott?) so he’s just making an ‘educated’ guess. He does this by cherry-picking verses from all over the Magic Book – from Daniel to the gospels and Revelation – and shows, or thinks he does, how the USA is really the focus of God’s concerns in these last days. This is an impressive feat when the Bible doesn’t say anything of the sort, not least because its writers were completely unaware of the entire American continent.

From there, anti-gay Scott outlines how the world’s woes, but chiefly gay marriage in the USA, are going to allow the Anti-Christ in. That’s the Anti-Christ of which the Bible doesn’t speak. It doesn’t say, anywhere, that there is one almighty Anti-Christ. There are only four uses of the term in the entire Bible, all in the letters written by a John (not the same John credited with John’s gospel) in the New Testament. Letter-writer John whines about those in the early church who, two thousand years ago, were fomenting dissent; these people, he says, are literally anti Christ. And that’s it; you won’t find the all-powerful Anti-Christ that later fantasists like Scott Lively believe in, either here or anywhere else in ‘God’s Word’.

That’s because Lively and fanatics like him confuse these long dead dissenters with a figure from one of the Bible’s nuttiest books, Revelation. Known as ‘The Beast’, this pantomime villain is actually a caricature of barking-mad Emperor Nero, who began the first wave of persecutions against the early church. But that’s not good enough for nutters believers like Scott. The anti-gay pastor insists that the Beast, whom he mistakenly calls the Anti-Christ, is actually a politician of future times – our times in fact. He – that’s the Beast, not cuddly old Scott – is going, pretty soon, to exploit the mess the world is in, put things right and then take over. In so doing he’ll be usurping Christ’s position as ruler of everything. (You didn’t know Christ was ruler of everything? Just think what a mess the world would be in if he wasn’t.) This, the Reverend warns us – with capital letters to show how significant it all is – will be only the Beginning of Sorrows. Oh, and there’ll be Blood Moons too, just to add a splash of colour.

God is going to be so pissed off with this state of affairs that after a while he’s going to destroy everything, just like Jesus predicted he would be doing around about AD30, and Paul said would happen soon after AD55 and Revelation’s John (no relation to the crank who wrote the anti-Christ letters) claimed was still going to happen soon after AD95. Just as thousands of others have predicted in the 2,000 years since; every one of them wrong.

Statistically, rationally and empirically it isn’t remotely likely that current events in the USA mark the beginning of the end either. The Bible’s writers had absolutely no idea of what the future held, as their disastrous track record shows. Their rambling, vague prophecies didn’t come true when they said they would and they’re not going to now, even with an anti-gay pastor’s US-centric gloss on them. Which isn’t to say the world might not end some day. If it does, however, it certainly won’t be because it is following an expired Biblical timetable, open to a multitude of interpretations.

Better to stick to what you do best, Scott, being anti-gay. Though that’s not exactly going your way at the moment either, is it?