We have been around as a species for the last 0.0015 per cent of the history of life.
Thinking about that in terms of religion, we are a nonsense. That’s liberating. I’m still a bit scared of death though.
The last bastion of the value proposition of Christianity had been that we are part of God’s lesson. When we might point out to a Christ-dealer that it is hard to reconcile the vision of eternal love from above with war, death, rape, famine, suicide, disease and struggle, we are told that we are living through God’s lesson. Bad things happen to test us, to show us the way, to guide us.
But when you look at how long we weren’t here for and compare it to how long we have been here, that fish gets slippier still. The world indisputably trucked along for a hell of a time before we blinked into existence. Why would we not exist for all that time if the be all and end all was our lesson?
Perhaps it adds testing value, in the mad continuation of the shrinking logic given above, to have to learn the lesson not only painfully but quickly. It also adds doubt, in the form of dinosaur fossils and creation myths. He’s really testing us now and he seems to be getting better at it too.
It is really fundamental to our understanding and belief of why we compromise ourselves to Christianity. We make deals internally all the time. Being good for heaven, being lawful and receiving peace of mind etc. But it seems that the lesson view of God falls apart if he’s been faffing around for billions of years before we even got here. What was he doing, getting suffering just right? Perfecting misery?
To me it always feels like the magnified version of the urge to watch videos on Youtube rather than study Spanish or Economics or something else useful. And the Christian peddlers sound more and more like marketing men, stretching and shifting their narrative daily to keep the necessary from happening. It is always better to face the truth, no matter how comforting the lie. Just as it is clearly better to improve ourselves than to watch another sneezing Panda video but they’re just so damn cute.
We would all clearly benefit from facing death and existence head on in the loneliness of our insignificance. It would free all of us. It would take a structured work ethic to rid ourselves of the framework of comfort, ritual and deceit while maintaining the ground-breaking historical sociological lessons of “Do unto others…” and “Love your brother…”.
It is largely down to our generation to come up with loving and inclusive values and principles to which we adhere and places that are open, liberal and multicultural to have our gatherings. It is up to us to say to our parents that we will not support the previous organisations that blew their chance so spectacularly and consistently, despite what our grannies want at our weddings and funerals. The priest down the back of the room or in the distant wings of your family can just tut and grumble. The embarrassment should not continue on our watch.