In a recent thread, I challenged Christians and other believers to explain why their supposedly loving God treats people so poorly. Toward the end of the thread, I commented:
We’re more than 1200 comments into this thread, and still none of the believers can explain why their “loving” God shits all over people, day after day.
If you loved someone, would you purposely trap them under the rubble of a collapsed building? Or drown them? Or drive them from their home and destroy their possessions? [Or stand by, doing nothing, while a maniac mowed them down using automatic weapons?]
Your supposedly loving God does that. Why?
As you’d expect, the Christians struggled to find a good answer. One of their failed attempts was to appeal to the Cross. Fifthmonarchyman, for instance, wrote this:
I just think that the way to understand God’s love is to look at the Cross and not at the latest natural disaster.
That’s fairly typical. Christians do see the Cross as a great symbol of love. Jesus was willing to lay down his life for us, after all. What could be more loving than that?
The problem is that they haven’t thought things through. When you do, the Cross becomes rather appalling. Here’s how I put it in response to FMM:
That’s right. God had the power to forgive Adam and Eve. A loving God would have forgiven them. The Christian God refused to forgive them, banished them from the Garden, made their lives miserable, and then blamed their descendants as if they had anything to do with it.
The Christian God is an unloving asshole. Thank God (so to speak) that he doesn’t exist.
And just to complete the picture, he decides that since Adam and Eve ate a particular fruit — something he knew would happen before he even created them — everyone must be tortured for eternity after they die. (Can’t you feel the love?)
But wait — there’s a way out! This psychotic God is willing to forgive us after all, because he tortured himself to death! He just needed a little more blood and gore in order to forgive us, that’s all. (Can’t you feel the love?)
So FMM comes along and says “ignore the natural disasters, ignore all the ways God torments people, and look to the Cross,” as if the cross were some great symbol of love. It isn’t. It’s the symbol of a creepy God who
a) creates people and sticks them in a Garden;
b) gets the bright idea of putting a tree in the Garden that he doesn’t want them to eat from;
c) blames them for eating from it, even though he knew that would happen before he even created them;
d) blames their descendants, as if they had anything to do with it;
e) decides that everyone must be tortured for eternity, because Adam and Eve ate from a tree that he was stupid enough to put in the Garden;
f) decides that he might be willing to forgive everyone in exchange for more blood and gore;
g) in the ultimate act of self-loathing, tortures himself to death; and
h) with his blood lust satisfied, finally agrees to forgive people;
i) except that even with his bloodlust temporarily satisfied, he’s still an asshole; so
j) he decides that he’s still going to torture for eternity the folks who don’t believe in him at the moment of death, and only forgive the ones who suck up to him.
Can’t you feel the love?
Christians, pause and ask yourselves: What happened to me? How did I end up believing something as stupid and ridiculous as Christianity? Why am I labeling this monstrous God as ‘loving’?
The Holy Spirit is a wondrous thing. It descends on people, making them incredibly stupid. It even makes them forget what love is.
Now, I’m fully aware that Christians don’t all agree on the historicity of the Adam and Eve story or on how atonement works. We can discuss some of those differences in the comments below. But I do think it’s striking that Christians have not come up with a story that makes sense, and that a large number of them unwittingly hold beliefs that paint God as monstrous, not loving, and the Cross as the symbol not of love, but of a petty and ungenerous refusal to forgive until blood is spilled.
The Cross truly is an embarrassment, right at the heart of Christianity.