Saturday, November 29, 2008

Doomsday

This is a continuation post (of sorts).

Let's talk about Armageddon/"Doomsday". According to most Christian websites, Armageddon will be the final battle between God and Satan - a theological Smack Down! Different religions and different holy books have varied accounts of what will happen when this battle begins, but they all seem to agree that during the war between God and an anti-Christ, there will be disease, suffering, fires, earthquakes, your "horsemen", and the scariest possible circumstances that the world would ever face. Fear, desolation, and epic terror will, allegedly, rule the day and the only thing that will save your butt is fighting on God's side (or doing one of any number of devotionals/pledges/statements of allegiance to a deity).

This scenario brings several questions to the surface.
* If God is all knowing, then Satan is an idiot. Would you go into a battle knowing that all of your moves will be known through your enemy's omniscience? Satan is said to know the nature of God. In some religions, Satan is said to be Jesus' brother (LDS). If you always lose, why fight the war at all?
* If God is all-powerful, why does he need thugs? Why does he need the horsemen? Which leads me to my next question...
*God must be a tyrannical arsehole. If he's all powerful and he's disappointed in humanity, then couldn't he just blink it out of existence? No muss, no fuss. If he created it all then he can un-create it all. But, no! Instead of exercising his power in this manner, he chooses to draw arbitrary lines in the sand and let chaos, death, disaster, and (if you believe the Bible) the most intense human suffering possible. Claiming that your God is a benevolent wonder while claiming that you believe in the end times is one of the biggest hypocrisies I can think of. These actions are not those of the most powerful energy in the universe. No. It's more like giving a two year old a collection of nuclear weapons and a biological arsenal and saying, "If these people don't choose to put you on a pedestal,...have fun!"
*I'm sure some people are reading this and thinking, "But...it's not that God wants people to suffer. Satan and man's sin will be responsible for the suffering." Ok. Then your God isn't the most powerful being because he can't snuff out Satan. Your God is also a royal jerk. "Eve" bites the apple and your all powerful deity decides that, because of this indiscretion, he will hold billions of people responsible? You'd think he would've created a poisonous apple if it's such a big fucking deal. If you eat the apple, then you die. Again,...no muss, no fuss.
*"But God wouldn't do that...he's giving everyone a chance." No! He's not! If he's all knowing, then he knows who is going to help his enemies or deny him. He's holding a terrorist threat over the heads of humanity and saying, "Choose me or subject yourself to eternal torture." That's not a choice. That's manipulative terrorism. Why not just say "If you don't choose me, you will be denied my presence. You'll just cease to be - no heaven for you." Why hell? Why would the all-knowing, all-powerful master of the universe need to create hell? This also brings up the issue of predestination. Did God allow certain people to be born only to suffer?
* Why would a perfectly just God allow infinite suffering for finite crimes?
* Why are the punishments and scenarios limited to only things that ancient writers would've been able to conceive of? Notice that it's the four "horsemen" and not the four guys driving hybrid cars. There's no mention of pilots vanishing from the cockpit of planes (ala Kirk Cameron's style of "the rapture"). There's no talk of AIDS. No mention of nuclear weapons or biological warfare. There's not even the mention of massive global warming or ferocious blizzards. Why? Because none of these events would've happened, or been foreseeable, to the writers of the Bible! If the Bible had spoke of four, evil mortgage lenders or evolutionists on Segways riding across the skies, then I'd give the Christian God a bit more credibility for being the all-knowing, all-seeing, prophetic master of the universe.

The concept of Doomsday/End Times/Armageddon is a purely human concept. It's about power. You take the people you want to control and scare them into behaving the way you want them to (need them to). That's all this is. Most people don't' want to die and/or suffer. It's that fear that can be the greatest motivator in human experience. Using that fear to gain followers is a joke.

I know I'm not the first person to ask these questions (and I won't be the last).

12 comments:

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

For a minute there I though t you were goig to do a review of the new movie starring Sean Pertwee of the same name. Basically its mad max in scotland.

But back to the point at hand. Yep fear plain and simple.

Vamp said...

You're right it's all about power, but to me, it's all about patriarchal power too.

- said...

These two posts made me break out my copy of Good Omens and re-read it for what is probably the twentieth time. It helps to have a sense of humor about the end of the world. :)

Geekwad said...

It doesn't make sense if you take them at their word, that they are monotheists. Actually, many modern Christian religions are dualists. They believe in two gods. A god of good and a god of evil. Satan may not in their view be omnipotent, but they believe he could perform miracles on earth. He's a god.

It changes a lot of things when you realize they are not monotheists. Suddenly, every day life is the ultimate struggle between good and evil. These two forces are at war *all the time* and trying to influence us. Everyday nonsense takes on an aspect of apocalyptic importance. Must convert people to our side, must save souls, must make war.

A monotheist does not worry about "others" and enemies of his god, because there can be no such thing. Our Christian dualists can be deeply paranoid and constantly fearful. It is a far more useful model for controlling people with. I think there is a high correlation between Christian dualism and Christian assholery.

Washi said...

I remember once when I was little asking my mom about the end times. I was terrified (and still am terrified) of death - especially painful death. My greatest fear when I learned about the end times? That God would misfire and kill me some horrible way (like in a fire or something). My parents didn't really do much to ease my fear, they just told me that even if I did die in the end battles I would still go to be with God as long as I was a good person.

Armageddon really is all about control. What better way to get people to follow you than to terrify them at a tiny age?

Baal's Bum said...

They have been going on about the end times since Jacobs day. Its about causing fear and getting power over people
I personally think the book of revelation is a guide for the christian uprising in Rome under Nero and has bugger all to do with any end of the world stuff. But sadly these idiots believe its true so could possibly make it true.

wh44 said...

The "last day" is, translated literally, "the day after which there is no night". The Baha'i interpretation is that "the night" refers to man's descent into the savagery of war: the end of days means the end of war. What the Baha'i call "The Lesser Peace". I much prefer the Baha'i interpretation to the standard Christian interpretation. :-)

Although I agree many Christians are actually dualists, and that some use that as a means to power, there are also many true monotheists - mostly from the more mystical versions of Christianity. All you need for evil to occur is free will - Satan is not necessary.

L. H. Thorn said...

My sister read the Bible. REALLY read the Bible, and thought about it. And it's what turned her from an agnostic into a true believer! That's to say, someone that truly believes that the BIble is a rather long-winded fantasy story.
While she was reading, she encountered a question that I think is similar to the ones you've raised here: If God is all-knowing, then he would have known that Satan was destined to be evil. And if he's so powerful, he would have known that Satan could never beat him. And if he's so benevolent and loving, why the heck did he let Satan try to fight him, and then not just defeat him, but smack him down, banish him to a place of eternal torment, and then tell everyone in the world that he was evil and should be avoided at all costs?
He effectively broke this guy (whose major crime was to DOUBT) threw him out of his home and then turned him into a leper.*
It seems to me that the only reason he would have done this was so that he'd have someone to fight against. It's almost like he wanted an opponent to help bring about doomsday. Like he WANTED people to suffer…
…Or like a bunch of desperate authors needed a powerful antagonist to fight against their hero. I wonder if any of them ever felt sympathy for their character?

CrypticLife said...

Were I a Christian, I suppose they'd probably excommunicate me for thinking God and Satan were actually the same entity.

Washi, you should not fear death (though I don't really blame you for fearing pain). Surely you don't have stress over your lack of existence before you were born. You won't after you die, either.

Geekwad said...

In a Universe that includes an omnipotent and omniscient entity, can there ever really be more than one entity in the entire Universe?

S. Brown said...

It always puzzles me when people rail against the "antichrist du jour."

The most recent iteration of this was, "Obama is the antichrist -- we must defeat him!"

Well, you would think that if the return of Christ requires the appearance of an antichrist that they'd be doing whatever they could to get him elected.

S. Brown said...

Oops -- sorry I posted that comment twice -- I just noticed the message that the comment needed blog owner approval -- I thought that I'd hit "cancel" instead of post!