On Christianity

 I today witnessed a short address on the Christian God, and the Bible, and how the God is not evil. I have to say that the argumentation was rather decent, and in general, solid. However, that being said, I feel that (even without rewriting the argumentation why God was not evil) there were some holes which also coincidentally bring out my own main issues with Christianity.

I need to note that the information I base the majority of my claims is from my memory, and may therefore be wrong (it has been a long time since I read anything that had some relation to Christianity).

It was left unclear for me whether we were speaking of the Bible or of Christianity. While it is true that the Bible may be Christianity’s holy book, then the religion itself is something different from the Bible — after all, there have been countless commentaries, new religious laws, and documents published throughout the twenty centuries since the inception of Christianity which are all as much part of the Christian religious sphere as the Bible. Here also comes my main secession from the line of the presentation delivered to us — while the Bible may not portray God as a terrible genocidal awful (etc etc etc) being, then the acts that have been done in his name (and therefore, it could be argued, "by" God) most certainly do. [Religious wars around the world, Crusades, Inquisition, fear of the loss of power, etc…]

Also, derived from the previous question of which one we’re defending, it is worth bringing up that (as far as I know) the concept of Trinity is not present in the Bible, and therefore it is a bit odd to argue the nobility of God based on that. [I seem to remember that the Holy Trinity is the result of either the first, second or some such church conclave in Nicaea, around the first half of the 4th century CE.]

Likewise, the Bible should not be referenced outside its cultural basis – it was written several millennia ago, and trying to justify it based on a modern (both religious and irreligious, interestingly) code of ethics is useless. Rather, it should be seen and compared to the other people of its day and age, and I am rather sure that they would not find God any more tyrannical than their own kings or queens.

Oddly, the topic of slavery arose – slavery, that is, both in the US (pre-Civil War) and in Ancient Middle East. Now, given that the argument presented was that in the pre-Civil War era, people used statements from the Bible to justify the abolition of slavery. Unfortunately, it was forgotten to mention that the opposing side likewise brought up passages from the Bible to justify itself. This brings me to a short digression on the fact that the majority of issues presented in the Bible can in any instance be reasoned back and forth only with the book – it takes a solid stance on only a handful of issues. Back to slavery, I heard a considerable amount about the civility of the type of slavery present there. I have no wish of arguing against it, but I would like to say that the civility was likely not the result of either the holy book (Old Testament) or the religion (Judaism), but due to slow cultural development that took place due to *mainly* economic reasons. Bringing this up as a statement that God is just shows a bit of short-sightedness for that reason. A short addition to the paragraph on slavery would also say that it was first abolished in the (far more secular leaning) United Kingdom while more religious lands managed to stay on the course of slavery (for a while longer).

I’m fairly confident I forgot something I wished to say, but I hope to have conveyed a part of what I think of this subject.

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  1. Hi, On the issue of abolitionism, at least in the U.S., there was a strong religious component. Yes, we could argue that the economic conditions of the time meant that slavery was no longer viable. However, economic conditions could have changed, making slavery viable again. This actually happened. Slavery was on its way out in the U.S., but the development of the cotton gin suddenly made slavery meaningful again for crash crops. This is not a unique American phenomenon. In Mexico, where slavery per se was abolished in 1824, once certain cash crops became profitable, slavery-like conditions arose in the late 19th century. Yes, slave holders did argue and justified their actions through the Bible, but these were disingenuous interpretations. All humans were the image of God, so it was incorrect to enslave humans. And the big narrative of the Old Testament is the liberation of the Jews from slavery; twice. I actually think that Christianity helped eradicate slavery for these reasons.

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