Here we are, then, all of us non-believers, in the Year of Our Lord 2013, still expected on this day to honor the dreary fable of how Jesus awoke from the dead, put in a few farewell appearances before making his way up to Heaven, and thereby completed the process of atoning for all of our sins, past and present. “Through faith and an accompanying ritual our sins were washed away and we are safe in the arms of God,” writes an acquaintance of mine, a man whose intelligence I otherwise respect, on his blog. “I am one of many chosen of God, saved by the blood of Jesus. All of this is in the Bible, and I accept that.”
It was God’s plan, we skeptics are pressed to believe, to send His son to earth, to straighten out recalcitrant human beings, to show them a better way, and then to die horribly for their salvation. Men, God had decreed, would be born bad, because of the First Couple’s disobedience, but they could be redeemed—every last man Jack and woman Jill of them—by just believing in Him, and accepting the fact of His everlasting love. And out of that love, He would consign all those who didn’t believe to everlasting torment.
An odd scheme, to be sure. What kind of a being would cook it up? One bored with Itself, perhaps? So, let there be light, It said, and let it shine especially on this hapless and credulous creature, Man. Let this poor biped fear me, and call the fear “love,” and, yea, let it imagine that I have made a great furnace, to roast those who don’t fear/love me sufficiently.
Let this poor and feeble thing, Man, flail about blindly and suffer, while knowing that I expect to be praised at every turn. If it questions my judgment or good will, let it be afraid and ashamed of its own doubt. Let it be assured that everything is for the best. Let it be keenly aware that, as I have given, I can taketh away, without reflecting too deeply on the fact that I do take it all away, when they die.
But let it dream of a Heaven, one with room enough for all the billions upon billions who have ever lived and suffered and repented and died, because I made them to. Let them long for a place where they’ll be happy to spend all eternity with the fiend who concocted Hell.
Let this Man, the paragon of my creation, live and go down to death all unknowing, but trusting in me, the one who torments it.
As a final touch, let men rejoice, down through the ages, that I have sent my son to be murdered, not mercifully but slowly and agonizingly, and let them—far from being filled with horror and revulsion—let them all the more eagerly desire to meet me.
Happy Easter. Hee-haw!