Sunday, November 23, 2014

The 'Good News' is only good if we buy the 'Bad News'

I use this analogy. A salesman comes to your town and tells you that everyone in this town has a terrible, awful disease which no one knew about until this salesman shows up. Although the salesman can offer no proof of this disease he swears we will all suffer and die from it. However, he says the "good news" is he has the cure, and one can only get the cure from him, but he will save you and you will be eternally grateful to him if you but buy his product.

Meaning: Christians tell us that we all have sin and that sin will bring us a terrible awful fate. Nevermind that until they came along, no one ever suspected we had this terrible condition and the Christians can't offer one shred of proof that we have 'sin' or that a terrible fate awaits us. But, the 'good news' aka Gospel is they have the only cure and we can only get it from them - one can only be saved from sin and hell through Christ, not by living a good life or practicing peaceful Buddhism, etc. We are supposed to 'buy into' their product, i.e., believe it wholeheartedly (hook, line, and sinker) and accept Christ as our personal Savior and be eternally grateful to him.

The 'good news' only exists if one believes the premise of the 'bad news' that we have sinned and will be damned unless we accept their product. Sounds like a snake oil sales pitch to me. I think we in the town would do better to live like we did before Christianity came to town, before we had ever been accused of having the horrible condition called 'sin' which I have no reason to believe exists.

Oh, yeah, and the salesman tells those of us who are skeptical that even though he can't prove we have this deadly disease, we better not chance it, because if he is right that we have this disease and we did not accept the cure, it will be too late to buy his cure once we start experiencing the terrible fate.

How manipulative is that?!?!

5 comments:

yeti said...

I hear what you're saying. Perhaps that is why I am attracted to religions that address the bad news that I see in the world today. What about poverty, war, disparity, hunger, hate. I already buy that bad news, so I'm hoping for some good news.

Hüffenhardt said...

With poverty, war, disparity, hunger, and hate, I think we humans have to come together to tackle these issues. I don't believe there is anyone/thing else to save us. But, the good news is that we are completely capable of successfully addressing these issues if we learn to work together so that everyone prospers and there is a balance of power. It is difficult to get to that point of cooperation, but the solutions aren't impossibly hard either.

levi said...

Heisenberg's uncertainty principle

Tao or Dao (/taʊ/, /daʊ/; Chinese: 道; pinyin: About this sound Dào (help·info)) is a Chinese concept signifying 'way', 'path', 'route', or sometimes more loosely, 'doctrine' or 'principle'. Within the context of traditional Chinese philosophy and religion, The Tao is the intuitive knowing of "life" that of which cannot be grasped full-heartedly as just a concept but known nonetheless through actual living experience of one's everyday being

RE: Zen Questions

Aren't you lucky?

A poor farmer was returning from his fields when he found a wild horse. He managed to get a rope around its neck and lead it home.
"Aren't you lucky?" said his neighbors.
"Maybe," replied the farmer.
His son tried to ride the horse but fell off and broke his leg.
"How unlucky!" cried the neighbors.
"Maybe," replied the farmer.
Soldiers came to the village and took all the young men to serve in the army. Of course, they didn't take the farmer's son because he had a broken leg.
"Aren't you lucky?" said the neighbors again.
"Maybe," said the farmer.

Our circumstances are what they are. To wish them otherwise is to fall into the trap of duality. If you think yourself lucky, then you are merely preparing the ground for being unlucky. If you feel you are happy now, then you must at some stage be unhappy. Why not take things as they come? Eat your meal, then wash your plate. That's Zen.

Live. do what you think is right, what you think you need to. consider your thoughts, consider others.

god is in us he is us he is not a he she or an it. a thing beyond our sight as behind our eyes. religion is our feeble way of interpreting our own presence guilting us to accept the sentient of others and forcing us to accept only the similarities. it is the individual who thinks and considers freely. my perception is different from yours shaped by my experiences and conflicts within my biology and my brain. to know others is to know thy self. hope for some is fear for others desperation yet for others it is victory. being able to hope means life still has you. each and every person makes this world what it is. but more importantly what it is not. there are more individuals than there are people in any group yet our opinions are seen as less important than those of a group. by those groups and by each other. atheism has got to become a religion to combat the fear people have of disbelief. we are not alone. we are different. Peter Higgs interview: 'I have this kind of underlying incompetence' we all do.

Karl Gee said...

I think this is a legitimate criticisms of the traditional atonement principle.

This is a bit of a tangeant, but I think one could make a strong case (and many have) that the "good news" Jesus preached wasn't primarily about being saved from individual sin. The "bad news" that he was addressing was plain to see (then and now), the bad news was that the world was full of injustice; Not only injustice imposed by outside forces (i.e. the Romans) but also injustice within Jewish society. Even the "chosen" people were failing to act like God was ultimately in charge. The "good news" which he preached was that the Kingdom of God is coming, and that a change was already taking place, beginning with himself and his followers. Throughout his ministry they focused on healing the sick and turning Jewish society upside down. In the synoptic gospels Jesus came to save a nation from its oppressors and perhaps even moreso from its national or societal or institutional sins (i.e. injustice). The idea that Jesus came to save us from our individual sins seems to be a later invention by a later generation of Jesus' followers, after the socio-political revolution didn't work out so well. I wish Christians would get back to this focus on social justice, and being the change they want to see in the world (if you'll pardon the cliche).

Russ Ryan said...

I love the analogy. Joining the church at 16 I wanted to do everything to get that good news and be saved from the "bad things" I had done, many of which I didn't really realize we're bad until I learned they were in church classes after my baptism.