Monday, May 6, 2013

"God in the Dock"

Scott Bradley

I have put this title in quotes because I'm sure it has already been used elsewhere, though I can't remember where. The idea of questioning "God" is an important one to me because I was for a long time a Christian and I ultimately abandoned that faith when its "God" could no longer live up to the lofty moral standards he ostensibly proclaimed. "God" must ultimately kill "God".

As an aside, I'd like to address the understandable sense of embarrassment that I feel in saying I was a born-again Christian. I do occasionally have my previous beliefs thrown in my face when I mention some of the moral absurdities of that faith. My answer is simply that when stoned on LSD and you have an incredible transformative experience packaged as Jesus, all the absurdities that go along with it are of little consequence. In other words, I did not become a Christian because I believed its doctrines but because almost accidently (it was with a laugh and as a lark that I prayed the prayer) I had my socks blown off. I saw it happen to another while my friend and I were bumming around S. California shortly thereafter. An AWOL marine, also stoned on LSD, had the same experience before my eyes, and when my friend mentioned Noah (and his ark) the marine exclaimed, "I believe, I believe!"

The revealed God of Judaism, Christianity and Islam made the critical error of identifying with certain beliefs and ‘historical’ deeds which though then acceptable are now seen as monstrous. "Hell" is, in my opinion, the most horrendous idea ever conceived by the mind of man. (Though strictly speaking Judaism has no hell — just a smoldering dump, Jesus was Jewish and thus his ideas were Jewish and likely reflected the Jewish thought of his time.) Of 'historical' events I need only mention a few: choosing one tribe above every other, Passover (being the passing over of that tribe while God murdered the firstborn of all of Egypt), raining fire and brimstone on Sodom, ordering the total genocide of the indigenous peoples of Palestine. (These are all from the Judaic root, but Christianity and Islam have made their own horrendous use of and contributions to them.) If this "God" is God, then we are in deep shit indeed.

Nietzsche wrote that every great idea must ultimately lead to its own negation. Understanding this, we can both affirm the contributions of these traditions — and they are many — and also leave them behind. Judaism gifted the West with a high moral code; yet that morality, once internalized, cannot but renounce the very God supposed to be its author. If God is in the dock, it is because he has failed of his own morality.

This is about my personal journey and I feel no crusading need to disabuse others who still believe of their faith. These things happen when they happen and not because we make them happen, or even because we ever wished them to happen.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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