The Inscrutable Jehovah
Theism begins with a commitment to absurdity. It revels in mysteries, embraces paradoxes, and wallows in warm credulity while reason is buried in a mudslide of illogical affirmations. It sees no need to apologize for belief where the evidence is not only absent, but also contrary to claims.
Theism trains the credulous in the art of illogicality by unabashedly positing incoherent notions of god that require the complete surrender of rational faculties. Some such common theistic notions among Christians are listed below.
- The notion that we were created with an actual choice not to sin in the face of the biblical assertions that we have all sinned.
- The notion that the wrath a “loving” god over a single sin results in condemnation to eternal torment.
- The notion that a “loving” god must see blood to forgive, and cannot simply forgive as he has asked humans to.
- The notion that the 3 days of temporary death by Jesus is the exchange rate for the deserved eternal damnation of billions.
- The notion that only the acceptance of the blood of Jesus will save humans from eternal torture, a rule in effect even for those who have not access to the story of Jesus.
- The notion that there is a moment of “accountability” where the eternal destiny of a child suddenly flips from Heaven to Hell.
- The notion that there will be no tears in Heaven, even though you understand that members of your family are being tormented in the Hell that your “loving” god condemned them to.
- The notion that Jehovah does not clearly reveal himself to us to keep faith a function of free will in spite of knocking St. Paul off his ass in a direct revelation, and in spite of the fact that Lucifer and the angels were able to rebel after having full knowledge of Jehovah’s existence.
If you accept any of these commonly-held notions, you are well-primed to reject any rational attempts to convince you that your faith is ill-founded.
And the bible is just the book for you. It contains all kinds of contradictions and absurdities that will delight the irrational mind. Here are some examples.
Has anyone seen god?
“No man hath seen God at any time.” (John 1:18a, 1 John 4:12)
“And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live.” (Exodus 33:20)
“Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.” (John 6:46)
“And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” (Genesis 32:30)
“And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend.” (Exodus 33:11a)
Has anyone ascended into Heaven other than Jesus?
And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. (John 3:13)
“And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:24)
“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” (Hebrews 11:5)
“And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.” (2 Kings 2:11)
Are there bible contradictions here? No. The bible is inerrant. If it appears to be contradictory, it is simply further evidence of our inability to grasp the mysteries of god. Right? You will hear all kinds of convoluted attempts to reconcile these verses. But it would not matter even if there were an honest way to do so. Christians are more than willing to accept the absurdity. They have committed themselves through “faith” to a complete resignation of critical thought on concepts such as god’s existence and the veracity of the bible.
One common claim is that the truths in the bible are only clear to those with a heart hungering for spiritual truth. If you are skeptical, and require evidence, you’ll never partake of the wondrous mysteries of god. Biblical truth is reserved for those who have traded their responsibility of assessing claims skeptically for an open heart hungry for holy mysteries.
And where the bible is not clearly incoherent, it is vague. Take 10 Christians and try finding agreement on the issues of speaking in tongues, the end times, masturbation, prosperity gospel, liberation theology, divorce, salvation by faith alone, infant baptism, female leadership, homosexuality, faith healing, allegorical Genesis, and chain of authority. You’ll not find agreement though you will find strong opinions prefaced with “the bible clearly teaches that…”
So Christians argue from conclusion, and shoehorn the evidence into that conclusion. And if the evidence is too contradictory to do so, the conclusion is still accepted on faith. This faith is then presented as virtuous rather than childish credulity unbecoming of a rational adult.
And this conditioning in credulity allows for other more pragmatic absurdities to be accepted wholesale. Christians are taught that the prayer of a righteous Christian “availeth much”, yet nothing but anecdotes is presented to substantiate this. Statistical studies that would demonstrate prayer’s success are avoided or ignored. Christians testify to the power of god in their lives, but are careful not to include a comparison of similar “blessings” in the lives of the ungodly. Any study that shows that Christians score worse in areas such as divorce rates are completely ignored.
This is the mind of the theist.
Any residual rationality is contorted and stretched and softened until the mind is sufficiently distorted to accommodate an ovine faith immune to doubt.
Jehovah is not subject to criticism. He is inscrutable. His ways are not our ways. The mysteries of the Lord only make him more worthy of our obedience. If only you open your mind wide enough, you too can believe.
This post is largely a reminder to myself of the absurd beliefs I once held. And in spite of the rather sarcastic tone at the end, it is not intended to imply that deconverts are any less susceptible to errors in thinking than are believers. It takes every mind much focus and effort to acquire the critical thinking skills that will assist us in most closely approximating truth. A post written by orDover in 2008 is a very good commentary on our cognitive weaknesses and how these might be remedied.