Imagine if you will, a young couple adopts a child. They love their daughter very much. They are religious people and believe in God and heaven and hell. Soon after bringing their daughter home, one of them goes to the basement and begins building a torture chamber. They fill it with all kinds of cruel instruments for causing pain and agony. The parent building the chamber says to the other that the chamber will only be used if their child misbehaves to much, gets in trouble with the law, will not listen and obey. If that happens they will torture the child endlessly, forever. In the mean time the chamber will be there as a kind of warning to the child to behave or else.
Sound implausible? Hard to believe anyone would do something like that? I believe that any critically thinking sound minded person would say so. So then, how do we understand religions that believe that their God has a Hell waiting for them if they “sin” to much? If you believe that your God created everything then he/she/it also created Hell. So the story goes pretty much like my story. God creates the universe and everything in it and then brings about humans and makes heaven and hell. Heaven is the reward for doing good and Hell is the threat and ultimate punishment for being too bad. If we can’t imagine humans being warped enough to build torture chambers to threaten their children with, how can we believe that a loving, caring God who should be very far above us morally, can be capable of doing that? How could that be? And why, would you give your allegiance to a God who would do that to you?
“I’m going to create people, says God, and I’m going to give them brains to think with, desires to grapple with and if they don’t speak and live and pray just the way I want them to, I will torture them endlessly in a special place I made just for the purpose.” What kind of example is that for us to live by. Why should we have to be so good but God gets to be so cruel? It makes no sense for religions to tell us that we should be kind, compassionate and loving when the God they believe in gets to act like that. Leading by example is the best way to teach anyone anything. And if we were created by a God, then God should know that.
And here is something completely different. In the Christian Bible, Mark 2:23 tells about Jesus and his followers walking through the grain fields on the Sabbath picking heads of grain. The Pharisees complain to Jesus about this because they believe the disciples are breaking the Sabbath law by “doing work.” What about stealing grain? Why do the Pharisees completely overlook the fact that the disciples are taking the grain from someones field? Are they so wrapped up in their religious law that they don’t care about civil laws? Interesting. I wonder if we don’t have that same problem today. OK, so now that I’ve had my rant, just a little food for thought, as they say.