Libertarian Prepper

The world divides politically into those who want people to be controlled, and those who have no such desire.

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Things I Don’t Like about Christianity

Although I’m an agnostic atheist, I tend to dedicate a lot more time to criticizing the religion of Statism than that of Christianity, because quite frankly Statism is far more dangerous, especially insofar as Statism and Secularism are religions to which most atheists flock quite happily, thinking they’ve discovered a non-religious alternative, when in reality they are simply replacing God with State, and Priest with Politician.

Interestingly, my criticisms below do not stem from doubt about the veracity of the claims made by Christians. In fact, in many cases I’m going to assume that the fantastical claims are actually true, even though I don’t believe them myself.

I also realize that not all of the doctrines below are taken to heart by every one of the various Christian sects, and many of them have been rejected by protestants (good for you!), but nonetheless, here are a few things I find very odd and in many ways frighteningly evil about Christianity.

The Panopticon doctrine

The Panopticon (opticon – observe, pan – all) is a type of prison designed in the 18th century that allowed the guards and watchmen to observe all of the prisoners, and this without the prisoners knowing whether that they were being watched.

Christians, however, have been believing in a very similar variation of this prison since ancient times. Their all-seeing deity watches their every move, as if you were in fact in a prison, and God had a billion CCTV cameras trained on all his followers (and the heathens too, of course), with countless rooms with millions of screens displaying the activities of everyone on earth.

Sounds like a dystopian science-fiction nightmare to me. Never mind that this is the ultimate form of submission to authority. In light of the protests of many religious conservatives about the growing police state and mass surveillance, this is kind of ironic.

The doctrine of Eternal Damnation

I’m a firm believer that it takes a very sick mind to come up with an alternative dimension in which every sinner, heathen, and non-believer (mostly code-words for “people not part of our group”) are tortured with fire, for eternity.

I’m not sure I would wish that on even some of the most evil people who have lived, never mind the vast majority of whom Christians would consider sending to hell.

The doctrine of Original Sin

This is the wonderful idea that because someone sinned a few thousand years before you were even born, you are now also a sinner.

It is not your actions in life, your decisions to be good or bad that make you a sinner – it is an event entirely outside of your control that transpired before you even came into existence.

Seems to me like an utter perversion of justice, and what a great way to excuse someone from personal responsibility for their actions.

Worse – what was the original sin? Seeking knowledge! That’s right kids, kill those instincts of curiosity and science in you before you become even more of a sinner. If I was a devil looking to oppress a gullible people through ignorance, I couldn’t think of a better way of doing it than by making the seeking of knowledge a sin.

Seeking forgiveness from a priest

This one is to my mind screwed up on many levels. First of all, the idea that certain human beings, mere mortals, are capable of knowing the mind of God to a sufficient degree to dispense judgment on his behalf. Seems pretty damn arrogant. I think that if I were a deity that routinely dished out punishments of eternal damnation and rewards of heaven, I wouldn’t want some arrogant man in a booth doing it for me. “Who does he think he is, this priest, to presume to know my will?!”

Secondly, why is it that forgiveness is sought primarily from the priest, and not from the injured party? I suppose that apologizing to a stranger is easier than apologizing to the person or the family of the person that you actually hurt. Seems like a cowardly way out though. If you truly feel guilty for what you’ve done, only the people you’ve hurt have a right to forgive you – not a priest, and surely not on behalf of a supernatural deity whose mind he cannot possibly know.

Where’s the Spirituality?

This part is maybe the biggest mystery of them all. To me, humans came from the wilderness – from the forests and from the plains. Even the original mythical place in which God allegedly created the first humans is called the Garden of Eden. In my mind, the best way find spiritual solace is out in nature.

But rather than celebrating nature, the “House of God”, the church, is often an immense stone construct, and what is it filled with? Trees and plants, the living things of our world? No – it is filled with gold and silver, and great wealth. Thus, to an unindoctrinated rube like myself, it appears as though Christians build a testament to materialism, and then call it spirituality. Not that Christianity is the only religion to confuse the two. Personally I have nothing against materialism, but hypocrisy? Not a big fan of that.

No where is it clearer that humans have strayed from the path of spirituality than in the wholesale slaughter of the wilderness. There’s virtually none left in Western Europe, and in most countries where it is left, it is left in nature preserves – small enclaves that people have promised not to destroy. Personally I think Christianity and other similar religions are partially guilty for this. Perhaps if they taught that spirituality is to be found out in nature (where after all you can better connect with all of God’s creations), and not in a massive stone construct filled with shiny precious metals, maybe more Christians would grow up with an appreciation for the forests.

And finally,

Is Christianity a Cannibalistic Death Cult?

Let me try and explain what I mean. There is a tradition in Christianity called the Eucharist, in which many Christians believe that they are actually drinking the blood of Christ, and eating his flesh. In all fairness, they’re just eating bread and wine, but the metaphor, the belief, is some pretty sick stuff. In fact, were it true, it would amount to cannibalism.

Why death cult? Well, it seems as though Christians are obsessed with the death of Christ. Although they could worship him as he is (presumably now) in heaven, or perhaps prior to his earthly death, they consistently choose that period of time during which he is either dying or dead. Every church I have ever been in has Christ nailed to a cross, suffering in agony (which, by the way, is idolatry). And worse – many Christians have chosen to carry around a cross as their symbol, an instrument of unimaginable torture and suffering on which millions have died throughout human history.

What a life-affirming view, to carry around the symbol of a torture device around your neck! At least the Yin and Yang of the Taoists has some kind of wisdom to it.

 

  • test

    In response to: “Although I’m an agnostic atheist”

    I thought you were an, “ignostic”? I avoid these terms whenever possible, they’re so confused and misused all over the place but I’d define them thus:

    theist = one who believes in the existence of one or more deities
    atheist = one who does not believe in the existence of one or more deities

    gnostic = one who knows something*
    agnostic = one who does not know something*

    *Something usually refers to the existence of a god or gods.

    Gnostic theist – I know and I believe. Surely, if one knows something then one doesn’t need to also believe it. If I know that you commited a crime, why would I say I also believe it? Surely that’s axiomatic?

    Agnostic theist – I don’t know but I believe. Reasonable, I don’t know whether you commited the crime but I believe you when you say you didn’t for various reasons.

    Gnostic atheist – I know and also don’t believe. What nonsense is this? I know that my father commited the crime but I don’t believe it. Am I just surprised? This seems like a silly thing to say.

    Agnostic atheist – I don’t know but I don’t believe. I don’t know who stole the car but I don’t believe you when you say John Smith did it. Isn’t this the masked man fallacy?

    • I am an ignostic, but I think that particular position is more of an added caveat to agnostic atheism. Let me clarify what I think agnostic atheism to be: I do not believe in the existence of gods, in the sense that I have an absence of belief, and I am also not SURE whether gods exist or not. I do not know, but I am skeptical and so I do not believe either.

      In contradistinction, a gnostic atheist would say that not only do they disbelieve in the existence of gods, but they KNOW they don’t exist.

      In this sense, gnostic and agnostic are qualifiers that imply certainty or doubt.

      Therefore, an agnostic theist would say that they believe, but they’re not really sure; while a gnostic theist would say that not only do they believe, but they KNOW god exists.

      Does that make sense?

      Also, this article might help to clarify further: http://freethinker.co.uk/2009/09/25/8419/

      • test

        Well, belief and knowledge I’d say are pretty different. I’d draw it as a Venn diagram with two circles over-lapping. One circle is truth, reality and the facts… The other is belief and the overlap is knowledge. Belief is necessary but not sufficient for knowledge. That’s how I’d describe the relationship. Faith is another story, it’s an epistemology (a failed one…) and is easily surpassed by reason and evidence, it’s not the same as belief.

        It doesn’t seem to make sense because if I say, “I don’t know but I believe.” or, “I know but I don’t believe.” it seems a bit silly.

        To know something is to have obtained that knowledge somehow. Either through direct sensual evidence and/or through reason. I think you’d agree that we don’t need to scour the whole universe and beyond to prove that, “All-powerful” doesn’t exist because to be all-powerful is internally logically inconsistent. Can it make a rock it can’t lift? Can it make a square circle?

        To believe something is based on a claim from someone else and the available supporting evidence – I don’t have direct sensual evidence and it’s reasonable. If you say, “I have three nipples.” then I could check your chest, then I’d know. Absent that, I could check your facial expression, listen to your tone of voice, watch your body language and maybe ask some follow-up questions under a lie detector etc. and I’d be able to say whether I believe you or not. The more evidence I can collect the more accurately I can talk about it.

        Of course, I agree that we can’t say, “I don’t believe in God.” but… That’s because we haven’t defined what we’re talking about and in most cases it’d be fine but in the case of, “God” it has so many definitions and so many claims and contradictions from different people that it needs to be defined every time now. Since we have to define even the term we’re talking about knowing/believing in then why make it even more laborious and use other terms which suffer from just as much, if not more confusion?

        The other thing is; we don’t talk like this about anything else. I don’t say, “I’m an agnostic believer that my cat is asleep.” I just say, “My cat is probably asleep…” And at least there you know exactly what I mean by, “my cat” and, “is asleep” rather than, “God” and, “exists”…

        What do you think?

        • Good points! I like the Venn diagram idea with knowledge being the overlap between truth and belief. Although I wonder where on this diagram would an atheist fit in?

          Also, when you said “It doesn’t seem to make sense because if I say, “I don’t know but I believe.” or, “I know but I don’t believe.” it seems a bit silly.”

          I would agree that saying you know but don’t believe might be silly in the context of such a Venn diagram, but why couldn’t you say you believe without knowing? That is an admission that you don’t have sufficient evidence, and that you’re therefore only in the belief circle, and not in the overlap of knowledge. In a sense that would indeed be faith.

          In all fairness, such labels are a problem with virtually any controversial topic. To one person, “anarchy” can mean chaos, while to an anarchist, “anarchy” simply means the absence of coercive rulers, and would in fact lead to much greater order than we currently have.

          I like your point about cats, and how the language we use in religious debates is quite unique. But, if religions are primarily there to confuse and bamboozle, it’s not surprising that this would be the case. It’s just like Orwellian language with the State. We don’t say, “I was extorted with threatening letters into paying tribute to my overlord.” We say, “I paid my taxes,” and suddenly things don’t seem so bad anymore.

  • Lance Rose

    The core of your complaints seem to be about traditions that have been built up around beliefs, not the beliefs themselves. Unfortunately, this is a real, on going problem in the church.

    You are not judged based on the omnipresent viewing of your actions. You will be judged based on your faith. (This would be a long drawn out discussion) But your faith is not “what you do” it is why you do it.

    This leads to the original sin. Adam and Eve did not sin because they were seeking knowledge, they sinned because they did not have faith that God would provide what they need. In short, a lack of faith.

    I agree 100% on the priest issue. Why would I turn to a mortal when I have sinned against a loving, forgiving God? When we seek forgiveness, it is not for whatever act we committed (you are right in that we should seek forgiveness for the act from the offended), but for our rebellion. If I steal $100 from you, I should repay the money to you and ask your forgiveness. But for my rebellion against God, I should ask God’s forgiveness. No intermediary required. Why have I rebelled by stealing? Because if I believe in God, I trust God to provide for me. If that is true, I do not need to steal. I have decided that God will not provide and I must do it on my own.

    My last point is about misconceptions. I have been in 100’s of churches across California to Texas. In 99% of them, outside of the wedding rings and misc jewelry, there is virtually no Gold or other shiny metals worth much. But there has been hundreds of thousands of dollars spent by humble, small churches on feeding the hungry and helping the poor. The “mega-churches” have their place. I can’t for the life of me figure out what their place is, but I am not going to judge other peoples worship. There are a lot of misconceptions from people who only see Christians on TV or have not been in a church in a while. Those are unfortunate. The sadder reality is that Christians are just people, no better or more righteous. They have, in their hearts, given their life to the service of the Christ. Does that always show? Not often enough.

    • Throughout your post you assume that your god exists, and it’s difficult for me to reply to some of your points without challenging that assumption, which I’m not going to do right now.

      I will say that I’ve been to dozens of churches, all of them in Europe, and many of them are bastions of wealth. It’s quite possible that most of the ones in America, having been built more recently and mostly by protestants, are very different – I really wouldn’t know.

      Also, you said, “Why have I rebelled by stealing? Because if I believe in God, I trust God to provide for me. If that is true, I do not need to steal. I have decided that God will not provide and I must do it on my own.”

      I don’t understand that – does the Bible really tell Christians to be idle and simply have faith that god will work everything out for them? And if you do indeed decide that god will not provide for you and that you must do it on your own, it does not logically follow that theft is necessarily the next step. You can provide for yourself in many ways that do not harm others, e.g. by creating something of value for another person and them trading for it voluntarily.

      I don’t think stealing comes from a lack of faith, I think it comes from a combination of disrespect for property rights (and maybe a lack of empathy), and the conflagration of real crimes such as theft, and non-crimes such as peaceful possession of property arbitrarily deemed illegal, whether that be firearms, drugs, or keeping too much of your own money (tax evasion).

      When a lawbreaker can face a harsher sentence for a victim-less non-crime such as drug possession than for a real crime such as stealing, and they end up being thrown into a cage with actual, violent criminals – is it a surprise what happens next?

      Oh, and yes – clinging to tradition for no reason other than, “it’s tradition” is indeed a problem, not just in religion but in everything. Change is constantly being fought by people who would rather things stay the same. This is as true with the Catholic Church as it is with scientific theories. (See here: http://www.libertarianprepper.com/faith-in-science/ )

  • SMIA061948

    I’m also an atheist. It’s God’s will.

  • Starting prepper

    As fairly new prepper and a Christian, i have to comment on your article, because there are some misconceptions in it.
    First of all. Eternal damnation is not a biblical conception. Read the book and find out for your self. I would stop believing if God was that sadistic.
    Second the original sin was not seeking knowledge, but be higher than God.
    The seeking knowledge part is what the devil made Eve believe.
    Third, do you really think one sinner could remove someone others sins?
    Why would God then send the Messiahs.
    Fourth, If you read the bible correctly, there is no mention at all for materialism. As a matter of fact the bible says not to seek treasures on earth. Besides that man are created to take care of the earth, not exploit it. I search for God in nature all the time and always see his wonders in it. although we made a fine mess of it.
    And last I’m not celebrating Christ dead but his resurrection, his dead is the price for our sins. In short Sin leads to death. The only one that can save you from that is the Lord.

    I get the idea that you are somehow misinformed, on what the bible really says.
    People have the tendency to use things to control other people. Religion or politics and if they have to screw the truth that just how it has to be.
    So leads it to your first point, I rather be a slave to the ten commandments then to any government on earth.

    • Thanks for your comment.

      I was puzzled by your claim that damnation is not eternal, so I did a quick google search for bible verses. This page http://carm.org/hell-eternal provides a plethora. For instance, “And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,” Also lots of references to “eternal fire”. You can check it out yourself.

      I think what the original sin was, is open to interpretation. You’ve interpreted as “being higher than God”. The way I see it, man indulged in a natural virtue of his (curiosity) and for this was punished. If you’d like to elaborate more on why you think trying to acquire knowledge is trying to “be higher than God”, feel free to do so.

      Re: your third point – yes, sort of. If I sin against another human being (e.g. by stealing something from them) and then figure out a way to pay restitution and earn forgiveness, then yes, I think my sin has been removed. Now, as you may have noticed I am not religious, do not believe in God, and hence believe that the only way to earn forgiveness is to do so from the people you’ve hurt.

      Fourth – you may be right, I’ve not read enough of the bible and I don’t have much time tonight to look for more verses. If you’ve chosen to not patronize those churches that are obsessed with materialism, and have instead found spirituality in nature – that’s great! More power to you.

      You mention that you celebrate Christ’s resurrection and not his death. If that is the case – why the use of the cross? Why not have some other symbol relating to his resurrection, as opposed to his most painful days on Earth?

      As for sin leading to death… well, it’s some nice wishful thinking, but the way I see it, justice is either found in this life, or not at all. A bunch of people (namely politicians) get away with all kinds of crimes and never pay for them. It’s nice to think that in some other world they’ll be punished, but to me that’s all it is – wishful thinking.

      And about your last point – I should really mention that what bothers me is not someone’s belief, but what they do with it. The means, and not the ends. As long as you don’t violate the NAP and don’t force others to be slaves to the ten commandments (the way voters are all too happy to force others to be slaves to the State) then there’s really no issue, and the rest is just a fun theological discussion 🙂

  • J N

    the religion that the churches uphold and preach today, that has been built around the personality of Jesus the Christ, and which is popularly known as Christianity, should be called ‘Churchianity’, in contradistinction to that pure religion of the heart that was taught by Jesus the Christ and practiced by his disciples. The religion of Christ or true Christianity had no dogma, no creed, no system, and no theology. It was a religion of the heart, a religion without any ceremonial, without ritual, without priest-craft. It was not based upon any book, but upon the feelings of the heart, upon direct communion of the individual soul with the heavenly Father. On the contrary, the religion of the church is based upon a book, believes in dogmas, professes a creed, has an organized system for preaching it, is backed up by theologies, performs rituals, practices ceremonials, and obeys the commands of a host of priests.

    he popular history of churchianity begins from 325 years after Christ, the 20thyear of the reign of Constantine the Great, when the famous Council was convened at the City of Nocea. Those who have read the life of this august Roman Emperor will remember how remarkable was the character of this so called pious supporter of the church dogmas. He put to death his own son and his wife Fausta on groundless suspicion, cut off his brother-in-law Licinius and the unoffending son of Licinius and massacred everyone of his rivals. Nevertheless the Greek Church has canonized him, and adores the memory of St. Constantine.

    The horrifying accounts of fraud, political wire pulling, theological jugglery, ecclesiastical scandal-mongering, passions breaking forth into curses and anathemas, bloody massacres and inhuman assassinations in the ecumenical councils, show that these were the principal instruments in the building up of the creed of Churchianity. Readers of ecclesiastical history will remember that in one of the disputes following the great Council of Nicea, maidens were insulted and scourged, the holy temple was profaned, books were thrown into flames, and the church and baptistery were burned and monks were trodden under foot. Such were the deeds of the pious bishops and founders of Churchianity.

  • Elle2Linda

    The sin in the Garden of Eden stemmed from the serpent twisting the truth as he asked Eve, “Did God really say, ‘You must NOT eat from ANY tree in the garden’?”
    So he initially began by lying, by craftily twisting God’s original command that they were “free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Even in Eve’s reply to the serpent, she added to God’s words: “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not TOUCH it, or you will die.'” Where did that extra little rule come from? That wasn’t part of what God told them.

    In the temptation of Eve, the serpent countered, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” This tells us that God gave them the pick of every tree in the garden–there may have been thousands, for all we know, but what is it about us that we must always want the one thing that we can’t have? This is our nature, we always want the one person, or job, or to walk through the one door that isn’t open to us, though so many other opportunities might be all around us.

    Death here is in the context that before, I don’t think Adam and Eve were supposed to die or experience hard work and toil or pain in child birth–that wasn’t God’s original intention for us but when they ate of that one tree–that is what befell them. How did they know they were “naked” and to “hide” before that? That wasn’t a concept that God originally intended for them, this feeling of being naked and “dirty” and needing to get some clothes on.

    In other words, Eve was tempted by the senses, when she “saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” When Adam followed Eve and also ate it, and their eyes were “opened,” that’s when things kind of went south. Hence today, we have a fallen humanity where all sorts of bad stuff happen to good people, and the other way around. Whomever wants to argue that God was trying to keep us from “knowledge,” indeed we have it now. But he was also trying to protect us from the bad things we experience today: all sorts of complications and conflict, and pain, and death.

    But the beauty of it all, even with a “fallen” state of the world or humanity, as some might call it, there comes this awesome concept of grace, and forgiveness. In other words, God didn’t always hold Adam and Eve’s mistakes against them, but life went on. Same with us, he won’t always hold our mistakes against us. We did it, it’s done, we’re sorry, he forgives us and we can move on with that “new found” knowledge in our minds. So if for some, all concepts of “religion” or belief in God are bad, this, I think is one good thing about having faith in God. We can move on in good conscience, forgive ourselves, and forgive others around us along with it.

    • Aussie Atheist

      Stupid cunt.