Written by: Robert D. Brinsmead
The “God with us” of Christianity turns out to be a very qualified, very exclusive, and not at all unconditional kind of “with us” There is a Christian theology which quite explicitly says, “If you don’t listen to us you are condemned already and God will punish you severely.” Human psychology is such that you can’t say stuff like that without ending up wishing, Jonah-like, that God will punish them or even thinking that the church/state system should start the punishing process in the here and now. But even if we remain pacifists, we can’t talk this New Testament talk without thinking ill of certain people because they don’t believe what we believe. The New Testament says “Have nothing to do with them,” and “don’t give them any hospitality or wish them God’s goodwill.” Well, that’s a bit better than Moses who says they should be taken out and stoned to death if they err from right teaching.
Even Paul in the letter to the Thessalonians loses patience with the Jews who don’t listen to him and so he starts damning them in bitter words. The fourth Gospel does this as an almost central theme. John’s gospel is atrociously antisemitic, and this is now universally acknowleged and regretted.
Luther started out with warm thoughts and hopes for the Jewis, opining that if they had been treated better, they would surely respond to the gospel. When they proved to be recalcitrant to his evangelical overtures, he raved and cursed them bitterly and thereby must share the blame of the Holocaust.
His rage against the Jews is nothing short of outreageously inhuman.
Even the earliest Christians beat people over the head with intellectual and spiritual thuggery – to put it bluntly, if you believe what we tell you, you will have all these wonderful things like God’s acceptance and eternal life of happiness to boot, and if you don’t listen to us and believe what we tell you, God is going to belt the hell not out of you, but into you – and don’t tell me that some of them did not believe in an eternal Celestial Torturer, because the plain fact is that some New Testament writers did – no matter how Anhiliationists squirm around and try to explain away passages such as “the smoke of their torment ascends up forever and ever.” So indeed, this Christian theology is bound up with the intellectual thuggery and bribery of making offers that people find difficult to refuse, even on the grounds of good fire insurance. Fundamentalists want to gloss over this pornographic religious stuff as if it hardly existed and refuses to see why the Christian religion became the most bloodletting regime in religious history. The poor Muslims have just not caught up, with the spirit of the Enlightenment and Liberalism that swept Christian culture with a more humanizing spirit. This enlightenment did not come from more Bible study I can assure you.
Father Tim Moyle, the Catholic priest, whoe wrote the article, “Where is God in the wake of all the world’s misery”, poor guy, saddled with his original sin story thinks that this atrocious religious myth may in some way explain the pain and suffering of the world. This is part and parcel of the doctrine of blood atonement and savagery of hell reserved for the most of mankind who are left out of the comforts of “God with us.” His God is someone who not just sentences Eve to banishsment from Paradise (direct access to God) and death because of her naive and innocent human curiosity, but sentences a thousand generations of her children to a cursed planet and her sex to pain in childbearing and subjection to male domination (because she was the first who sinned, (a la the Timothy letter supposedly but not actually written by Paul) and must be so ashamed of her sex that she must be silent in church, must not be in any teaching role, but must confine her questions to her husband at home, etc, etc. Do I hate all these good Christian teachings? To borrow words from the Psalmist, “You bet I do! I hate them with perfect hatred.” With Jefferson I say, “It would be more pardonable to believe in no God at all than to believe the atrocious teaching of the Christian theologians.”
I write my diatribe againt religion with a big smile on my face just as Jesus told outrageous stories that poked fun at the religious establishment; not with an ugly scowl, but with a big smile on his face (as Breech so aply says).