When I was in Sunday school, I questioned my teachers. Mostly about Noah’s Ark (which in my opinion, remains the most absurd bible story) but also about the historicity of the Bible.
- Why was this God restricted in location? Why did the Native Americans (for example) know nothing about it?
- If believing in this deity (Jesus) was required for salvation, that would mean billions had died and gone to hell (or somewhere else uncomfortable) merely because they did not know about this deity, who had sacrificed himself on a cross.
- Where was this God when the dinosaurs roamed?
- Why did God change his demeanor over time? The OT version of God is vastly different than the one depicted in the NT.
As I read more into history and the various Gods, I started to realize that many of the Gods that predate Christianity or even Judaism, are similar in nature.
At first I thought this was the reason why the Christian God doesn’t show up in different cultures or areas or time periods – He had, but people were confused and named him differently, while he still retained the same aspects.
Of course now I realize that religions take ideas from previous religions and plagiarize them in some ways, but when I was a child I hadn’t yet come to this realization. The same could be said of resurrection cults that predate Christianity. For example, Osiris who was said to have risen from the dead, very much like Jesus was said to do later.
Another example of this can be found in the speech given by Red Jacket. It’s one of my favorite speeches of all time. Red Jacket gave this speech when missionaries asked permission to proselytize. You can find the entire speech here. If you’ve never read it, I highly recommend you do. Here’s a short blurb that illustrates my point.
Brother, continue to listen. You say you are sent to instruct us how to worship the Great Spirit agreeably to his mind, and if we do not take hold of the religion which you white people teach, we shall be unhappy hereafter. You say that you are right, and we are lost; how do we know this to be true? We understand that your religion is written in a book; if it was intended for us as well as you, why has not the Great Spirit given it to us, and not only to us, but why did he not give to our forefathers the knowledge of that book, with the means of understanding it rightly? We only know what you tell us about it. How shall we know when to believe, being so often deceived by the white people?
Brother, you say there is but one way to worship and serve the Great Spirit; if there is but one religion, why do you white people differ so much about it? Why not all agree, as you can all read the book?
Again, why did the Native Americans not know about this great, true religion? If the sole requirement is to believe, then the information should have been readily available to all people and any God that could do or know anything, surely would have known his plan was doomed to failure for so many people?
Again and again, these religions (Christianity among many more) run into historical questions that the faithful (and their religious books) fail to explain or account for in any satisfactory way. Usually, I was told that God worked in mysterious ways or that God had a plan and we aren’t meant to understand it.
Basically, I was told not to think about it too hard. Put your questions aside and just have faith. It doesn’t need to make sense – it’s just the way it is.
This isn’t enough for me, and I think any God worth the title would be more consistent and it would above all, make sense. You wouldn’t have to do mental gymnastics to understand where it fit in. You wouldn’t need to ignore parts of history to remain faithful. You wouldn’t need to put faith above thought. This being would fit and make sense.
So I’ve written a bit more than intended but I hope I’ve made my point. I’ve included a video at the end you may find interesting that deals with the same sort of argument I’ve made here. Also, please share your ideas on what I’ve written here, whether you agree or disagree. If you’re a person of faith, your comments are just as welcome here as someone who isn’t religious, such as myself.