Christianity.. subtle?

So, I’ve had a set of thoughts that make me wonder if Christianity is really a failure after all. The thing is, although there are some core tenants of the religion that I fundamentally disagree with, I might never have even thoughts about them, much less come to the conclusion that I disagreed with them, if I hadn’t been exposed to them in some form. And the religion does do a really good job of presenting what’s wrong with certain ideas. As a friend of mine points out, the best way to deconvert someone from Christianity is just to get them to read the whole bible. Some parts of it are just obviously wrong – but even that wrongness is a education of sorts. Learning what you don’t believe in probably does have some value.

It’s interesting to me that so many of the underlying assumptions of Christianity fit in with my own beliefs – some of them I have even been able to test to my satisfaction. And yet the core idea – that Jesus died for your sins, and without that you would suffer for all eternity – makes no sense.

On the other hand, that it makes no sense is a education in and of itself. It gets one thinking about what moral behavior for a higher power looks like, whether a lower power can recognize moral behavior in a higher power, and ultimately things like whether dogs have souls and whether humans are inside a hypervisor. At least for me, even though I will be the first to admit that at this point there’s a lot that I don’t know and a lot of what I feel about Christianity is based on my emotional reactions to certain writings. However, I’ve learned that my emotional reactions (generally anger) can in fact be successfully underpinned with logic. So, for example, I can make a logical argument about why you shouldn’t be killing gay people, and why that’s not something that a higher power would encourage you to do. (Unless you’re using the phrase ‘higher power’ to mean ‘lower power’)

I can also make a interesting bit of ‘stupid is as stupid does’ arguments about the subject – if your so-called higher power exhibits signs of being a awful entity, they aren’t a higher power. Just because they might have happened to figure out how to control your experience of reality does not necessarily mean they can control everyone’s, and one should authenticate ‘higher powers’ very, very carefully. As we’ve learned, black hats happen, and black hats would certainly exploit those who would take a burning bush as a sign of divinity.

So, my ponderable question, how do I know if a given signal is coming from a higher power? I’ve developed a few guidelines:

1) If it looks like hate, it probably is. Meaning, if it says my friend is sinful for the way he chooses to love, if it says I am flawed to my core and someone had to die because I’m so awful, if it says I don’t deserve to live, if it says it will make me suffer for all eternity.. it’s not a higher power.

2) If it looks like fear, it probably is. Anyone ever notice how much religions in general rely on fear?

3) If it is at odds with testable reality, it’s probably not a higher power. Religion and science have had a long war with each other, and if we are hypervised then you could make a case that all bets are off but if we are hypervised, I have to assume it’s still true that observable reality is what the administrators of the hypervisor intended us to see. So if scientists describe a reproducable experiment that demonstrates things that are at odds with what religion is saying, for me, it’s a easy call. Religion is wrong. It has a long history of being wrong, and of behaving badly when it turns out it is wrong, so this isn’t a huge surprise for me. As far as I can tell, religions were not authored by enlightened beings, but rather by a bunch of people who had found themselves with no backstory in a situation and wrote out their best guesses, largely illuminated by fear.

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