Christianity makes no sense. I like to think of myself as a reasonably intelligent person, so I am a little embarrassed at how long it took for me to come to such a realization. I am not speaking about the point when I realized that religion itself is ridiculous. It is, and such a realization was a fundamental moment in my intellectual maturation. I am speaking of the comprehension that Christianity specifically is a ludicrous incoherent belief system. It is a point I should have reached much sooner but nevertheless, here I am. Now that I am at this place, I feel a little lonely. There are just so many believers. At 2 Billion professed members, Christianity is the world's largest crazy cult.
When I first heard the beliefs of Scientologists explained to me, I was incredulous, as I think most people today are. I just could not understand how it was that anyone could come to actually believe such nonsense. Yet there are those who do. The answer is most likely that a lot of the information that we are given in life is beyond verification for us. We will never really "know" that what we've been told is actually true. We instead use our rational abilities to discern the likelihood of a claim to be true. Those who are very good at rationality will weigh a truth claim's likelihood of validity according to the proportionality of the evidence for it and make an unemotional decision on whether or not to believe it. Most will not do this. They will often believe a truth claim based on the level of trust they place in the people providing it, how it makes them feel to believe it, and most importantly, how the claim is packaged and presented. We all know how great corporations are at making their products look desirable. Religions are just as good at selling their beliefs to a public that desperately wants to believe in something supernatural.
I feel this way because I used to believe in God and his son, Jesus. I used to read the stories in the Bible with talking snakes and donkeys, parting seas, giant herculean warriors, people who lived to be 900 years old, etc. Why did I believe these stories were historically true and that it made absolute sense to believe that God had perfectly preserved it all right there in one easy-to-read paperback? Because my parents, teachers, priests, and friends all believed it too. They were right about all sorts of things, so why not this too? Plus, believing in God gave me certainty. I knew that there would be life after death, hopefully in heaven and that God had a plan for me and my life. This made me feel good and happy, for the most part.
When I first heard an unemotional academic summary of the beliefs of Christianity, I almost laughed at how ridiculous it sounded. Without all of the brainwashing, constant reinforcement, and slow conditioning that had been done to my reason, I saw it from an outsider's perspective, much as we see Scientology and it seemed just as crazy. Study the beliefs of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism or any others and a Christian naturally concludes that they believe some pretty crazy stuff, yet has been conditioned not to apply that same lens to their own beliefs: not to study them academically.
In the following series of essays I will ask and attempt to answer some basic questions about the beliefs of Christianity. I will not focus on any of the historical arguments against its sacred scriptures or attack the Church as hypocritical or dangerous based on a historical examination of its multitude of sins, nor will I delve into the philosophical arguments against the existence of any god. My purpose is to demonstrate that the very basic beliefs of the religion are ridiculous and that even if we were to accept at face-value the Bible as factually correct, this still leaves us with utter incoherence: enough, hopefully to make us wonder why it is we believe it at all and why it's not still considered a crazy cult.