Wednesday, October 28, 2009

If Your God Exists, He Needs to Be Taken Down

Yeah, it's kind of harsh and I didn't actually say this to the Christians I met on campus, so here's what really happened.

I was walking through Auraria Campus and saw some people mingling around talking to people. They had a dry-erase easel and some literature. I figured they were evangelists or activists. Not sure which one is worse...just kidding, activists are totally annoying.

Anyways, they stopped me as I walked by and asked "Would you do a quick survey for us?"
"Ok, write down where you will go after this life on this board. If it's already on there you can put a tally next to it."
I looked at the board- heaven, hell, purgatory, not sure, I know I will be in heaven because I have accepted Jesus Christ as my one and only savior.

I ended up writing "universe/abyss"

"Interesting, what do you mean by that?" asked the Christian.
"Um, I guess I feel like there is no after life in the sense of me consciously occupying a place, but maybe my life energy goes out into the world in some manner."
"Ok ok," said the Christian. I'm just going to call him Brandon. He was REALLY nice by the way.

"So how confident are you in that?" Brandon asked.
"Probably something like 95%," I said.
"Ok, and if there is a heaven, how confident are you that you'd go there?"
"Hmm, probably 95% again."
"Ok, ok," said Brandon in a thoughtful and understanding way. (Did I say he was really nice?)
Brandon continued, "So why do you think you're going to heaven? I mean assuming there is one."
"Well I'm a good father, I love my kids, I love my wife, I love my friends and I try and do a lot of good in the world. I think if there was a God they'd appreciate that."
"Yeah, yeah totally. Well the thing is that we can never be perfect."
"For sure," I said.
"Well ok and though we can't be perfect we can accept Jesus Christ as our savior as the Bible says and have that imperfection forgiven."
"So basically you have to accept Jesus Christ and this specific God as one's God to get into heaven?" I asked.
"Yes, the Bible says how Jesus died, but it wasn't for free. In return we must accept him as our savior." Brandon explained

This went on for awhile. I said that it seemed a bit petty that God would not let people into heaven who held different belief systems. I wondered aloud to Brandon why a God that is all-powerful would have such a huge ego and such low self-esteem to punish good people to eternal damnation just because they didn't believe in him, or even that they believed in him but in a form he thought wasn't accurate enough. I asked about a hypothetical villager in rural Pakistan who grew up in a completely Muslim town who was good to his family and a great neighbor. He too would be sent to hell? Even though the predominant religion was something other than Christianity?

Brandon quoted some more Bible verses, but the end answer was- Yes. Unless he accepted this specific form of Christianity he would suffer eternal misery in hell.

So I finally said, "I'm sorry but even if you are right, I wouldn't want to go to heaven. I know that's extreme and maybe I'd change my mind if actually faced with this, but I just would not agree with a God like that. I can't imagine being in a heaven where so many of my friends and family and just really good people who I don't even know are suffering in hell. I'd rather just go to hell."

He was sort of taken aback and didn't know what to say. I felt bad because he was really nice so I said, "Well this has been a really interesting conversation with a lot to think about. I really appreciate it," and left.

After reading the Golden Compass and His Dark Materials series I started to change my position on religion some. Before I was really into what the truth is. I still am, but the reality is I don't know what is ultimately true. Still, in the Dark Materials book there is a wrathful God and what is amazing is that some people don't accept that. They try and take that God down because he is unjust. I think that's really powerful. It's powerful to think that even if certain oppressive and unjust beliefs are true, that people of conscious should still reject them and stand firmly on the side of what is right. So yes, if that God did exist, I wouldn't want to be in his heaven. I'd rather be in hell organizing towards a heaven that is open to all, regardless of creed.