punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Today's theology lesson

Man, don't type, "Why can't I see God*?" in a search engine.

I was curious what Christian people told kids about this obvious discrepancy. I have answer to that myself, like "God is not a person like you and I, but exists in the creation all around you. You see proof all the time, but thank goodness God doesn't look like a person because then someone would dress up like that and say they were God, and make you drink poisoned Kool-Aid. That happened once, and it still happens from time to time. That's why Commandments 2 and 3 exist." While I am mostly of Buddhist-Wiccan philosophy, I do "grok" the concepts around Christian mythology up to a point. I could easily speak to a group of kids at bible camp to straighten out some of their confusion without converting them to another religion (unless freedom of thought is a form of conversion, then all bets are off).

But I really get scared when I read some Christian texts. Christianity is not a religion of peace and harmony, and I think I know why: they can't answer simple questions to their kids. They make them choke down certain concepts until it becomes "blind faith" and those of blind faith fall victim to things and people like Jim Jones and his cult. "Because I said so," is a poor basis to anchor faith.

I would imagine a simple question of, "Why can’t I see God?" should be easy to answer. But I find a lot of texts dodge the issue. Many are cryptic and try to bore kids out of asking again by pointing out text in the bible. I guess they hope a 6 year old will not look these things up, I mean, that's what I'd assume. And I am not saying they are wrong, but most are... vague. As a tarot reader, I'd be embarrassed if I was this vague or cryptic. Many readers are, which is the point, and I consider 95% of the people who quote the bible haven't the foggiest idea what the right answer is.

Many answers scare kids with a passive aggressive "Don't ask that, you bad, bad kid" answer. Some are direct, but many texts are like "because only the pure of heart can see God," and "the devil tricks you into questioning God's plan," and whatnot.

Here's a good example of both.

If I may, let me dissect this. I realize to most of my readers, I am preaching to the choir, but I think this is very important. This small summary of a typical answer is a little scary. The first paragraph does the bible quote from the New Testament, taking slightly out of context to lead to the next paragraph. In reality, the sermon from the mount in Matthew 5 was about Jesus setting mankind's soul free by saying how to live your life, and 5:8 is a promise of what lies in the future if you follow the being pure in heart. It said you must be pure in heart to see God in the end, not that you are sinful. Then he takes Isaiah's little quotes, and smashes them together. Isaiah's words should be taken like those of the Oracle at Delphi: a little cryptic and devoid of constructive context. I mean, look at Isaiah 59:5. Mmmm... cockatrice eggs...

So now, we have the third paragraph that takes two smashed speeches together, and says that because we have "sin" in our hearts (and nothing quoted here actually says we have "original sin," this writer just took liberty with keywords), and there's nothing you can do. So there.

Well, that's depressing. And acts like a crowbar between you and God. I think some preachers are afraid of people speaking directly to God; history is full of what happens to people who said God said to be nice. Even Jesus was killed for it.

The rest of the text takes even MORE out of context examples. Man. And the conclusion is just pulled out of thin air. At this point, you could take quotes from anything: the Covenant of Pearl Price, the Koran, the books of Dune, or even an engine instruction manual for a 1972 VW Beetle. Take a look at this religious quote:

We came from Eden --a paradise world for our form of life. There existed no need on Eden to build a physical paradise or a paradise of the mind--we could see the actuality all around us. And the price we paid was the price men have always paid for achieving a paradise in this life.--we went soft, we lost our edge.

That's actually from "Muad'Dib: Conversations" by the Princess Irulan" in Dune. I substituted "Caladan" with "Eden," just to see how that style of quote could EASILY be taken as a bible stuff.

Lost? So was that 6 year old. Most kids can see through lies because they all think THEY invented the concept. So they kind of know you don't know, but feel bad for asking, and now you have sown the seeds for discontent. This kind of flawed logic has now confused the kid, and they want to ask something else.

But they talk amongst themselves, you know. If you remember, you did the same thing with brothers or sisters, of just friends. And they all start to realize you don't know, either. If you can't show them the way, they find their own way, and it may not be your way. I think overly strict religious parents are always shocked how their kids turned out. Sinful, disappointing, and so on. Their kids have learned from them alright; denial and confusion leads to stubbornness for safety's sake.
* Disclaimer: I really think "Gods" here, and you are free to think what you like by a God-like concept. I will also accept atheism, because with out atheists, we have nothing to stop us from becoming religious nutballs. In the words of John Lennon, "I'm not saying that we're better or greater, or comparing us with Jesus Christ as a person or God as a thing or whatever it is. I just said what I said and it was wrong. Or it was taken wrong. And now it's all this."
Tags: christianity, faith, religion, spirituality
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