Good afternoon everyone. You know we all go to church and praise God for being in everyone and everything? I thought I might take you at your word and add another session to this afternoon. And as you have nothing better to do, this is an extended piece. So settle down, please – and open your bibles. Thank you.
If Jesus “messed with the bible” – what other surprises might the (inerrant and infallible) bible hold? Well, atheists are always banging on about how “this or that” never happened – always bringing “science and facts and archaeology” into the argument – always laughing at us (when we just know that they really believe in “God” – just not like us). So …
What if the bible agrees with them? What if our bible is NOT inerrant and NOT infallible? At least – not as “we” have been taught that it is. Would your faith withstand such a hole below the waterline? And … what would you say if I suggested that – rather than sounding a death-knell of anything with that suggestion … I am confident this IS a victory for both atheists AND believers alike … ?
Would you continue reading this post – would you un-follow me – would I become that friendless outcast?
Let me try to explain –
Until my God Soft Hands Jesus showed me unconditional love (“love is always the answer, now what is your question?”) – all of this “messy stuff” in the bible was never a problem for me. Atheists were just being “difficult” –
We sinned in the garden. We were thrown out. Our spiritual genes have an abnormality – we can’t help but sin. So we can never achieve the reality of unconditional love – we can only receive it from God in this lifetime. And we are unworthy – so we are unable to earn salvation. Conditional love can accommodate all of this quite easily. That’s what “belief” is. And we are taught that God’s love is unconditional (even though we know it’s not). We are taught that unconditional love is really “conditional love” – which is why God can be Old-Testament-cruel. Because “unconditional love” would not get away with all the death and stuff that keeps on happening. Not unless “unconditional” means ONLY for those I like (and isn’t that kind of love … “conditional”?)
But as we are sinners – and can be nothing other than sinners – we have to be forgiven. So we deserve it (and have to be liked). And God can do that – God does do that! Except to be forgiven we have to believe (is this a condition?) And also to believe we have to ignore a lot of stuff in the bible (is that another condition?) Which is not a problem because we don’t HAVE to know the bible to be saved. And anyway – none of this is my fault – that’s just how it is because of Adam and Eve (and/or God – and/or the serpent) Just don’t say that last bit out loud.
So ignoring things is “just the way things are”. That is how we are taught to be a good Christian – ignoring things and calling it “belief”.
Things like the brutal and pre-ordained style of occupying and owning the Promised Land. Or like God testing Abraham. Or like the Flood wiping out all creation (apart from Noah and family). And then the re-population of the entire earth from just one family (yeuch). And even back to the beginning – to the Garden of Eden – and all of us (even Noah) being birthed by just one man and one woman (that isn’t just “in-breeding” – that is mega-yeuch!). And then we have to praise God whilst ignoring or praising all the killing. We have to excuse and embrace (even praise) all the blood. We have to ignore (even praise) all the mistakes made by God: Creation of Universe and us – FAIL. Send in Jesus to make it right – PASS. Hallelujah!
And THAT was also fine by me.
Because Conditional Love is practiced at ignoring things (that is one of the conditions). But now add “unconditional love” to the mix – and now there is “stuff” getting in the way of unconditional love – even allowing for “free will” (and I did, do and have). Adding unconditional love to the mix AND ignoring stuff becomes much trickier. And continuing to embrace stuff of “conditional love” becomes even trickier.
But I was only ever taught “God’s Unconditional Love is conditional (Sshhhh… don’t let on!)”
So what about this “Original Sin” thing.
It seems to my (unconditional love) eyes that “the whole thing” rests not on God … but on “that” … on “original sin”. That original sin is the glue holding the rest together. Yet God seems at a loss – even as this original sin thing unfolds! He is off doing some “Creator” stuff – blissfully unaware that the serpent-Adam-Eve are having at it with “that tree”. And why warn them only about “that tree”? Why not about “that serpent” as well? And if everything really was perfect – why “that serpent” at all? But then … our all-knowing God comes back – and is unsure where the pride of His creative skills actually are. But that is the mystery of God we are taught – don’t ask questions.
Well either God is not perfect – or He is a bloody good actor who is taking the pee out of His creations. And my “unconditional love eyes” finds that neither version fits the God I now know and love. They see neither. It’s just I have to ignore that bit – “Mystery of God cupboard, please.”
Just as I have to ignore lots of other things because no one ever teaches them. “Mystery of God cupboard again … ? Yes please.” Unless you are a “de-convert” – an atheist – agnostic (or whatever ist or ic you prefer) – and then “we” take “their” attacks as persecution.
But how about this thought …
Does anyone you know actually teach unconditional love? Teach unconditional love as real and attainable –within our reach here on earth – in our one lifetime? Can you think of anyone? Nor me. And why is it that we are taught that only God can “do that”? And why do we have to have Original Sin? Why all the “It’s not our fault at all – that’s just the way it is – God’s fault – or the serpent – or both – (just don’t say this stuff out loud).”
I look back and begin to realise that we only do “conditional love”. I look back and only ever see conditional love. Apart from God who is Jesus who is NOT the God we are taught (obviously!). We are always taught that only God does the “proper version” of unconditional love and we – thank God – are His “victim recipients” – recipients of His grace freely given (original sin again). And for us to qualify for this free-to-all-Godly-largesse … ? God only imposed one teeny weensy hardly worth mentioning condition (might that be linked to original sin – again?) Guess what that teensy condition might be?
Only answers from Christians can be accepted (the rest of you are yet to be saved)!
So is the God of “Unconditional Love” ever “unconditional” – at all? Because even if we fulfil that one teensy condition – we will not benefit from saying “yes” until AFTER our own death. Because even if we say “yes” – whilst we are alive we WILL suffer. We will know pain. We will see countless numbers killed, injured, suffer terminal illness, suffer mental torture, struggle against trauma, against … “everything” (that is not of the love we are all taught that God is) of “Conditional Love”!
A love that says “I was good – so be good back to me” – a love that says “It’s not our fault – so don’t be nasty to me” – a love that says “I have rights – what about me?”
We are taught about a God of unconditional love (by teachers who teach of a God of conditional love only). And because of that we are taught using a bible that has most of the messy bits redacted (or glossed over). And we are so often taught the bible by people who qualified in being on-(God)-message. And we are each invited to call that “our eternal freedom”?
So I am less and less surprised that we are “persecuted” by atheists for “the clarity and love” that we preach. I am less and less surprised that we are required to learn “how to share the Good News properly”. And I see more and more sense in needing all these denominations and religious structures. And it seems to me more and more logical that we bemoan the loss of our “Christian Country” to unbelievers and “culture”. And – to me – it is the epitome of common-sense that we pray to God to help us defeat our enemies (who just happen to be the same creations of our God of “unconditional love”). And – sadly – it becomes more and more obvious why we keep telling ourselves we are “only sinners” – that we have to keep gathering to be forgiven. Because we want to be victims – we are taught to be victims. And if you were “The Creator” –
Isn’t that how you would make everything happen?
But (hang on a moment … ) isn’t this the same race who think that we rule the world and all in it (because the bible says so). Which gives us free-rein to consume everything we desire. And also means that when we get it wrong … ? We are just sinners whom God loves eternally and without condition (apart from one – obviously) – and even “that” we have made all neat and tidy:
“Do you believe … And do you take God to be your … And will you love Him … Will you forsake all others (so help you God) … ?”
I do! I will! I believe!
“Welcome fellow Follower! Let us celebrate your earning of our God’s unconditional love! Hallelujah!”
Earlier I said: “I am confident this IS victory for BOTH “atheists” AND “believers” alike”. Tomorrow we start that leg of this journey. And this time it is for real –
Have the rest of the day off. Thank you.