Saturday, February 13, 2010

Bible literalists only, please: why did Yahweh make Christianity so complex?

So I'm still worked up about this whole idea of how to decide when something is literal and when it's figurative. I've been asking about three bible points in particular: (1) the young earth described in the Genesis account, (2) Matthew 5:29, the part about ridding oneself of sinful body parts, and (3) the descriptions of hell. I've heard some pretty tortuous explanations about how people assign literal or metaphorical status to these various passages, and a new question has come up in my mind.

You see, when I was 13 and being sexually molested and tortured by my parents, I also learned (from my attackers, naturally) that I will burn for all eternity in literal torment in hell. Naturally I ran everywhere in terror trying to find a bible so I could read it and figure out if there's a way out. Well, it took me a really long time to realize that Jesus isn't even there until well over halfway through, and then he's hardly there at all before Paul takes the reins. But that's an aside, sorry, trouble focusing at times, PTSD and all.

Anyway, the first thing that stuck in my head from the bible, and which has been there ever since, is Matthew 5:29. Now I've asked you people about how we tell literal truth from metaphor in the bible, and after I sifted through the hateful, glib, stupid, and not-even-wrong answers, I finally found one that had at least something to redeem it, from user "Bianca". But the explanation was so complex! Why would Yahweh give us a book that's so darned hard to figure out? Why didn't he make it easy enough for that scared little boy to understand? Why did I have to spend ten years of my life thinking that the only way I can avoid hell is to cut off both my hands and gouge out both my eyes because I spent a lot of those years touching myself and looking at women with lustful intent?

You may think that this is just a bitter rant. It is that, but not only that. I don't understand how a god of love would make it so hard for me to get the same answer as everyone else. That's the part that bothers me: when I take a test and get an answer different from someone else's answer, I want to understand why. I'm getting a different answer from you Christians, and I don't understand why, and with my eternal soul hanging in the balance, I'm frankly desperate to get the right answer.

As usual, thumbs down to the uncompassionate, hateful, glib, stupid, not-even-wrong, and especially those who obviously aren't reading or paying attention.

Best answer, posted by "Andie":

The thread that binds the Bible together is a simple message. Within that simplicity are complex threads interwoven into it which give depth to God's message. But you make a mistake when you decide that you want everything to be "easy." Studying the details of God's Word takes work, time, and...well, study. God does not mean for us to read it once and set it aside. We are to read it over and over and over, studying it and delving into it daily. There is enough there to last for a lifetime of study. With that perfect mix of simplicity and complexity, I have no doubt that God is its author.

My response:

The complexity (let's face it, the utter incomprehensibility) of the bible is just another indicator of Yahweh's lack of love and compassion. If he really didn't want us to go to hell he WOULD have made it easy. "Sufficient to each day is the evil thereof," as he said himself. Why compound our woes?

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