If You Cannot Answer the Riddle, You’ll Burn in Hell

I responded to one of Tom B’s comments in I Can Kill My Children if God Tells Me To. He responded back to me again. His words caused me to whimper in pity. I respond to him below:
Christianity isn’t supposed to make sense to us, God doesn’t need it to.

Why? Why doesn’t God need it to? If, as the Bible says, we are supposed to figure out the riddle of salvation, the eternal consequence for our finite non-mastery of the subject being burning in hell forever, shouldn’t it be imperative that the supernatural being who set the whole thing up, give us an unequivocal path to eternity away from burning?

The answer to that question is actually the reason why, even if the Bible god was real (which he cannot be), I would want no part of him. And this answer is exactly what Tom believes – God has no imperative to be reasonable with mankind. He can set the rules as he sees fit. He can remain as mysterious as he desires, never revealing his true self or nature, guaranteeing that only a select few will ever enter the kingdom of heaven. The Bible supports this. “Wide is the path to destruction, but few there be that find the way of salvation.” Couple that paraphrase with the idea that God is all knowing, all powerful, and present everywhere, and my point is made.

God set up rules and boundaries and gave us one a (sic) mission, to glorify Him. If we don’t obey Him there’s (sic) consequences and if we do than (sic) we’re rewarded which sounds an awful like raising children, pets, or the law of our land. Play by the rules and everything is fine, screw up and turn your back on your authority and there’ll be consequences. It’s simple.

Yes. It really is that simple, if you stick with that horrible narrative. But that’s not how good parenting works. That’s not how good employers treat their employees. According to Tom, authority is the end all and be all of life. Everything in life is structured in an hierarchical manner. Everyone has someone to answer to – and must answer to that someone without question.

This approach to life has two problems (among a myriad others):

First, unquestioned authority leads to abuse of power by the individual or group in charge, especially, as Tom dictates here, if that authority plays by zero rules of fairness or logic, both swear words in fundamentalist Christianity. Secondly, the individual under authority has no ability to disagree with the authority and be respected for that disagreement, even to the point of changing the authority’s mind. Yes yes, I understand that Bill Gothard, Tom’s favorite golden boy, puts together an appeal process, awash in the power of the authority figure, shining a harsh light on the utter helplessness and weakness of the victim.

All I knew of parenting was my mother’s awful heavy-handed authority. But, over and over again, I was told to respect and obey her. I was beaten, as were my siblings, sexually abused, mentally abused, brainwashed, cussed out, and finally had the gumption to “escape” at the age of 19. I was a child.

Yes. If I disobeyed my mother, there were consequences. That was how the game was played. Yes. It really was that simple.

But it wasn’t right. Not in the least.

Any system that sets up an artificial rule book, leaving no room for the nuances of life and the minute-by-minute circumstances of the color of humanity, is bound to fail, leaving hopeless victims grasping for something – anything – that will lead them to understand their own individual value.

I am still scraping my mother’s shit off my brain and heart and learning that, while I am here on this earth to love, protect, clothe, feed, and teach my children about good sex within consensual boundaries, they can still shove their finger in my eye, and tell me that I am wrong. And Tom, many times, they are completely and utterly incorrect. Sometimes not. And yet, they are beginning to discover that I am pliable, that life is about their individual voice – NOT the voice of the collective, following lock-step, to a set of unquestioning rules.

It’s really that simple.

Finally, the god you described in that last paragraph does not deserve my glorification. He doesn’t even deserve yours. Someone who stands by, waiting for you to break a rule, doling out predetermined consequences should you fail, is exactly the opposite of someone you should love and adore. A focus on your sins, rather than a focus on your goodness. Pathetic. That god is an asshole.


  1. Numenaster says

    As I told my nominally Catholic boyfriend once, “If a human behaved in this way you’d call it controlling and abusive. And you’d be right.”

    • kagekiri says

      In my deconversion process, there was a brief time where I still thought God real, yet clearly saw his Biblical character for the monstrous, entirely self-interested dictator that he is in that book, despite claims of being the embodiment of love and goodness.

      It was not a pleasant combination of things to really think of as real/true. Luckily, my brain kept working, and if the Bible was lying about God’s goodness as claimed, it was probably lying about existence and other claimed qualities as well.

  2. deepak shetty says

    Christianity isn’t supposed to make sense to us, God doesn’t need it to.

    I’d accept this if atleast the Christians could get together and agree.
    But its always Christianity makes perfect sense , the fault is yours! v/s Christianity isn’t supposed to make sense!.
    The Bible absolutely has scientific facts ! v/s The Bible isnt a science book and so on.

  3. says

    Yeah, I used to believe in the Kierkegaardian idea that God isn’t supposed to make sense, therefore faith. I had to keep doing intellectual gymnastics trying to explain why my morality’s better than God’s. Don’t you just love cognitive dissonance?

  4. lanir says

    The deity of the bible lacks respect for the people it’s supposedly leading. It treats them with contempt. Couple that with some frankly uninspired authoritarian asshole dominance games and you really don’t need to know any more. When you put all the pieces together it’s just social engineering and thievery. The deity (and the church/religion by proxy) gets all the perks of being in charge but none of the responsibility. That’s never going to end well.

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