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.