This weekend on Facebook, someone in my friends list linked to this story. I suspect they meant so approvingly.
Titled “Christians Did Not Invent Imaginary Sky Friend“, the article proclaims that there is no way Christianity invented God. On one hand, there is a valid statement there. Christianity did not invent monotheism. And Christianity’s starting point is that of the previously established Jewish faith. But that is not the argument the article makes. Instead, it argues the Christian God is not created because:
Well, that’s an interesting accusation. But let’s think about it for a minute. If God did not really exist, but we decided to invent Him anyway to make ourselves feel good, what would be some of the traits of this fictitious God? We would want Him to be all-knowing and aware of us as individuals, and to care about us. Okay, so far so good. Most importantly, though, we would want Him never to judge us, and no matter how self-centered we behaved, we would want this God to give us a big reward when the time comes.
But that’s not a description of God; that’s Santa Claus. He knows when we are sleeping, he knows when we’re awake, he knows if we’ve been bad or good—but hey, that doesn’t matter because as we all learned from the iconic Kris Kringle holiday special on TV, at the last minute he always says, “Oh, they’re all pretty nice.” And then on Christmas morning, everybody gets presents! Yippee!
The article continues:
The fact is, if we were going to invent a God, we never would’ve invented someone so perfect and righteous. We would’ve invented someone like the gods of Greek and Roman mythology: larger than life, but more like us, with typical human shortcomings, such as selfishness, deception, lust, and the occasional embarrassing drunkenness.
This is unassailable logic, right? I mean, people would not create jealous gods, gods who demanded we abstain from certain behaviors and so on…right? If we made up a god, we would make up one who likes what we like and tells us how awesome we are, right?
Except, if you look through history, it is full of religions that have angry and jealous gods. Gods who demand to be appeased, worshiped and served. Gods whose love is dependent on how and what rules you follow.
Mankind is more than willing to believe in and worship gods who demand you follow a hard road. Define perfect and righteous? God is given to the same shortcomings as us in the Bible, the most obvious being jealousy. But because God is “Righteous and Perfect”, his human shortcomings are simply written off as…NOT SHORTCOMINGS. Suddenly, negative human traits are argued to be understandable and not shortcomings in God, because he is “righteous and Perfect” whatever that means exactly.
Even if you stick to the Greek Gods, they were not happy gods who loved us as we are…they were harsh and toyed with people.
So, from the earliest time to the present, people who appealed to dangerous and uncomfortable gods who demanded much.
The Merry Catholic claims:
Finally, the God revealed to us by the Christian religion offers this warning: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven….I will declare to them solemnly, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’”
Whoa, that’s not very comforting. Where is the big reward that everyone is supposed to get when the time comes? If mankind invented this God to make ourselves feel good, how come this God makes us feel so uneasy?
But then, most believers think that the evil doers that have to depart are someone else. Christians take great comfort in an angry god who will punish those of us who do not agree with them. The verse in question is not comforting for “evil doers”, but it is certainly comforting for the people who think they are not going to be turned away.
People routinely are drawn to hard religions that demand much of them emotionally, physically and spiritually. And yet they take comfort in the vague unknown plans of their religious gods. Why did people make up all those gods if those are totally not the gods mankind would create.
In fact, the appeal to Santa Claus made in the article falls flat. Santa is a judgmental friend as well. He gives gifts to the good children and punishes the naughty kids. Part of the myth of Santa exists to keep kids in line…which is certainly a logical explanation as to why we would generate tough and demanding gods.
I guess what I am getting at is this is not a strong argument against the notion that “You made it up”.