Monday, January 17, 2011

Faith is Nonsense Part IV: Obey your thirst.

Carrying on with our series on things that skeptics have honest questions about, we come to today's idea:

"Is it really sin?  Or is it just the way that the world works?"

Now if I were an atheist, I would look at the Christian faith and ask some honest questions in the area of sin.  Christianity argues that sin is that which separates us from God and introduces shame, fear and anxiety.  But is it sin that introduces that or is it Christianity that has socialized us to see these things as sin and that is what brings the shame, fear and anxiety?

For example, a young Christian woman might hear for much of her life that you should save sexual intimacy for marriage.  This is a powerful message that makes a person feel like God is happy when they wait until marriage.  So imagine the guilt and remorse that a person might feel if they fall in love with someone and become involved physically.  The Christian response is that it is sin that separates us from God and makes us feel shame.

But is it sin or is it the idea that intimacy before marriage is shameful that brings about the guilt?  If I were an atheist I would argue that the institution of the Church, the authority of the Bible and the presence of other believers in her life have made her feel horrible about something that is a natural instinct.  As humans we have instincts that lead us to reproduce and the only thing unnatural about the story is someone stopping these instincts in favor of pursuing a set of ethics committed to a book from a series of human authors thousands of years ago.

This can be said of any moral teaching in the scriptures.  What the Bible calls a sin is what gives 'sin' the power it has on people's lives.  If the same young lady had never known about the idea of 'sin' then she would never have had any guilt or shame in the first place.

To break it down, as humans we reach our greatest fulfillment when we obey our thirsts - it is when we interrupt these urges that problems begin.   Even worse, when we abstain from things because we think God will be upset is when we start having mental distress about which things are shameful and which things are not.  The difference between the two becomes a way for other people to have power over our lives and influence our behavior.  This eventually works to the benefit of the institutional church - the more people that are under their spell equals the more money in their pocket.  Religion is a sham - an emotional crow-bar religious people use on people's sense of right and wrong to get them to do what they want.

All of this is very true.

And you know who said it first?  Some famous atheist?  Nope.

It was Jesus.

I'll explain next time.  This is a good one.

1 comment:

  1. I spent a good deal of my Christian life attempting to abstain from sin for the wrong reasons. Mainly just because sin is wrong.
    Through the Good Lord and his incredible ability to change hearts, I now try to not sin because I'm in love with him. I know His way is right (learned that the hard way).
    Also- the point about not realizing sin (the young lady)....
    For me- I'm thankful Christ takes care of all of my sin. I'm sure there may be unconfessed sin in my heart that I'm not totally cognisant of...
    Very good thought provoking points John. I have 2 atheist people in my life. I really appreciate your candidness and truthful questions/answers. DNS