What’s God Got To Do With It? (Nothing)
Well, here I am again after a long absence. No excuses. I’m a lazy moron crushed by divergent responsibilities. I apologize. Onward.
When we last looked, Aaron, knife in hand, had slashed his way through a multitude of bloody sacrifices, seemingly one for every occasion. Feel guilty about a particular sin in your past? Amazingly, Aaron always has an animal that can be butchered and toasted to carry away your guilt. Shocking isn’t it? Offend God by some small sin? Offer him a burned and bloody mess, and he’ll forgive you. Offend him with a greater sin? Give him an even bigger bloody and charred mess, and things’ll be fine. There’s little doubt that God does get a bit of a woody from charred flesh, but it’s a wonder that there were any animals left. Was there anything left for mere people to eat? Remember that this was the same time that the Hebrews were starving and had to be fed by bread falling from the sky and quail stumbling into the camps and spontaneously combusting. Yet here they are throwing animals on the fire to be uselessly burned, all to appease some idea of a vengeful God. This is just senseless like much else in religion.
Let’s think about this. Does it make sense in the overall scheme of things? Could your sins be carried away by the death and barbequing of some animal flesh? Perfectly logical, right?? Um… Sure, that is if you’re a bronze-age animal-herding tribes-person who is desperately seeking any explanation on how their world works. Today??? After a trip through modern public education??? Not so much.
The very idea that I could atone for cheating on my wife by taking one of our animals out and ceremonially slaughtering it is ludicrous. Let me be clear. Although I’m an atheist, I like the concept of sin. Bear with me here; I know I’m in dangerous territory. Don’t we all harm people in our day to day lives? Simply in being human, we create havoc in this world with our unnecessary cruelties and heartless actions. People are constantly destroying the things they love through callousness and stupidity, ignorance and fear, through… just being human. I have no difficulty in calling these persistent human atrocities sin. In addition, I want to live in a world where some sort of atonement is required. We can’t just say, “Oops.” and go on with our lives. We should all try to atone for the pain we have caused. Whether it sins against our brother or crimes against our planet, we should try our damnedest to make it better.
The concept of justice has always burned rather fiercely in me. Even as a child, the thought of someone getting away with injustice kept me awake far into the night. I stand by this moral system. Atoning for our sins and crimes is essential for becoming a better society. We need to attempt to fix the damage we have done. We need an internal sense of self justice. I understand that this may sound like an archaic idea for an atheistic progressive, yet it was this concept that became central to my fleeing my fundamentalist background. It was the sheer unfairness of the Bible that drove me forth and made me both atheistic and liberal.
Therefore, the concept of sin doesn’t bother me. My problem lies with the idea that when we sin, we sin against a god. How can this be? Our sins are against our fellow humans and the world we live in. Against God??? Never! To atone for our sins or wrongs we must attempt to rectify what we have done with the people harmed and not with some invisible, space-dwelling superman. God has nothing to do with this! If I harm my child, it is not to God that I must atone, it is my son. If I harm my wife, not only must it be to her that I will atone, but God is a jackass for even trying to intrude on that debt. God deserves nothing in this transaction. Nothing! Even allowing for his existence, which I do not, he is simply not part of the equation. It is between the harmed and the harmer, not some giant, invisible, butt-plug constantly lurking overhead!!
Only if I could possibly harm an all-powerful, all-knowing and all-seeing deity, a perfect being, could he ever deserve some form of atonement. Doesn’t the very definition of perfection proclaim that anything I do cannot harm him? Isn’t that what all powerful means. How religions insist that their gods are all powerful and yet have the sensitivity and temperament of an infant is beyond me. But let’s allow this too. I seem to be in the mood for allowing illogical impossibilities so let’s give him the exalted position of omnipotent fucking baby. Think about this. If my sins against my fellows really does make baby Jesus cry, shouldn’t my atonement to my injured brothers and sisters be the reparation he requires? Why must I kiss his deified ass too? What could this possibly accomplish?
If we think about the entire concept, it’s really like a tax on sin. God, like any overbearing bureaucratic government, demands his cut of the atonement, a pain tax. Like some Mafia boss, the God of godfathers, if someone’s going to be paying for a sin, he demands his share and fuck anyone who doesn’t like it.
This is an idea so absurd that I am continually appalled that there are still modern, educated people who still believe it. I know I’ve said this before, but to me the single biggest proof that we are not intelligently designed is the utter nonsense that we insist is true in spite of the world of evidence refuting it. We are simply too stupid to have been designed by anything other than evolution.
What I do find quite ironic in this entire section, particularly as an American in the midst of the great tax debate, is that this sin tax was a graduated one. A Hebrew was only required to bring and burn what he could afford. The poor paid considerably less than the rich for the same service. Even then the wealthy were held more accountable for their errors than the poor. The sacred idea of a flat tax which the right wing in this country hold onto as a fifth gospel just doesn’t seem to jive with this part of the Bible. Not that the Bible has any validity when it might possibly conflict with greed, but… well… that’s a topic for a different discussion.
But can anyone refute that even God believed in taxing the rich more.
I’m just sayin’