Had God designed the world, it would not be
A world so frail and faulty as we see.
– C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis is most known for being the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, a series of fantasy novels written for children and published during the 1950s. As a boy, Mr. Lewis was enchanted by the thought that animals could talk, and he loved mythology, immersing himself in mythical tales throughout his life.
He was also a close friend and collaborator with J. R. R. Tolkein.
So it’s not surprising that with his love of mythical tales, and his upbringing as a Christian, that he also turned to writing about Christianity itself, the most mythical tale of all.
What is surprising is that for a few years in his teens, Mr. Lewis saw the light and declared himself an atheist, realizing that the stories he had been told from the bible just didn’t make sense. For whatever reason, he fell back into the comfort of his mythical beliefs, and for the rest of his life he wallowed in the comfort that the mythical tales of the bible provided.
I’ve always found it incredible when I hear of atheists turning religious, because in my own experience of being raised in Christianity, once I found how much of it didn’t make sense, I’ve felt there’s no way I would be able to convince myself that God existed, even if I found that having that belief was somehow comforting.
I’d rather suffer the pain of reality, than the delusion of a perfect, god controlled world.
One argument that helped turn me into an atheist was the fact that the Christian god is advertised as being perfect. Further, man was created in his image, insinuating that man was perfect as well.
Well we would have to be right? How could a perfect being create anything that wasn’t perfect? Logic dictates that if god created something that wasn’t perfect, he made a mistake. If people who make mistakes aren’t perfect, then a god that makes mistakes isn’t perfect either.
So what is this whole business with hell then? How is is possible that god not only created imperfect beings, but he also created this terribly nasty place to send them, and it could be argued, the guy that runs the place is even more powerful than god himself.
According to Christianity, god is like some know it all father, who tells his son to eat his vegetables, while laying the table with cakes, ice cream, candy, and a huge bag of those bite sized Halloween chocolates. Then when his son gives in to temptation, and he samples just one Snickers bar, dad sends him to his room, douses the carpet with gasoline, and sets the whole house aflame.
Only not satisfied with just killing his son, he makes sure that his son’s life is saved at the last moment. He whispers into the charred son’s ear, “Just wait for tomorrow, we get to do this all over again!”
Pretty sick right? But that’s Christianity, and by telling his son what’s going to happen to him if he ever takes a bite of that Snickers from the time he’s a little lad to when he’s a grown man, you can bet that the son is going to be pretty weary of anything to with peanuts, caramel and chocolate.
The construct of hell is a part of Christianity because it creates fear. Fear is how you motivate people. For most of history, a prime motivation of the church has been to convince you that you need them a lot more than you need the wages you just earned.
But it’s also power. Just look at the current political environment of Republicans, who in large part learned how great a motivator fear is because they are mostly Christians.
You must fear gays, you must fear crime, you must fear immigrants, you must fear Democrats, in fact you must fear anyone who isn’t a white Christian. By instilling them with all that fear, you can get them to vote against their own self interest. Does a coal miner in Virginia really have a strong desire to cut taxes for the billionaires that send them into the bowels of the earth to catch black lung disease?
No, but make them fearful about guns being taken away, or abortion, or Black Lives Matter, and they will happily pay more taxes enabling the wealthiest to become even wealthier.
Make them fearful enough and you can even convince a large percentage of Christians that a guy who cheated on all three of his wives, and has committed all of the deadly seven sins in bulk is such a saint that god has personally chosen him to be our leader.
To quote a recent editorial in the Enterprise, “What a bunch of horse pucky!”