What is the point of all religion (at least from a Western Civilization perspective)? TO ESCAPE DAMNATION.
“…This is the Second Death, the Lake of Fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he [or she] was thrown into the Lake of Fire.” – Revelation 20:14
WARNING: I have a lot of ground to cover, so this article may go a little longer than I intend…please stay with me and I promise that your patience shall be rewarded.
In Part One of this series we looked at guilt from a purely legal angle; now we approach the great Cathedral of Guilt: religion. Let me be clear, though: when I say “religion” I mean ANY ATTEMPT TO ACHIEVE A DOCUMENTED STANDARD OF MORALITY WITHOUT GOD’S ASSISTANCE (or God’s Existence for that matter). In other words: to attempt to please God without God. Looking at these words on a computer screen causes me to realize how silly the concept of religion is…nevertheless millions of people spend their precious moments in this very endeavor.
Let me also say that, apart from religion and government, the psychology of guilt is a purely social exercise; we impose guilt on each other in order to defend our own pride and dignity. Very often I would not even know that I have offended a peer unless that peer informed me of the offense, and out of mutual respect (and even affection) I would gladly apologize so that my peer’s dignity would be honored and our positive relationship preserved. The problem with psychological guilt (as with many issues in human thought and feeling) is that it is a “moving target,” shifting it’s position with the necessities of survival in regards to both the preservation of one’s life and the preservation of one’s relationships with other living things. Hence the rather huge catalog of religions the seeker is faced with.
To truly and realistically understand religion you must first accept this simple Truth: YOU HATE GOD. Even if you don’t agree with me (yet), play along and accept my axiom as being at least hypothetically true. Despite a few physical and mental parallels, you and God have absolutely NOTHING in common and in very many ways your life is a lot simpler and happier without Him. This was not always the case between humanity and God, but it is certainly the case today.
The problem is that your ancestors (the first humans) were designed and created to have the SAME relationship with God that The Godhead (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) has with Itself. Alas, now that original purpose has been thwarted…what is God to do with you?
Destroy you, of course. You exist for His Purpose, not vice-versa. And the plain truth is that you have failed to fulfill God’s Purpose…there’s nothing left to do but incinerate you.
A perfect example of this hatred we have for God is the way we treat the Jews; there is no practical or logical reason why the Jews have been persecuted and abused the way they have down through the centuries except the fact that God chose them and set them apart to be His Special People. The fact that the Jews themselves have hated and failed God doesn’t in any way mitigate our hatred for them-rather, it has given us another “reason” to hate them even more.
Then comes Christianity. The message of Christianity is truly and indescribably amazing and wonderful for those few that understand it: God comes down as a Human (Jesus Christ) and TAKES RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR FAILURE TO FULFILL OUR PURPOSE…letting us as a species “off the hook” entirely and enabling those who want to (Jew or gentile) to return to God. After that, God Himself takes up the task of removing from our hearts our deep-seated hatred of Him (sanctification) as well as making us physically fit to dwell in His Presence without burning up like a box of matches (resurrection / glorification).
CHRISTIANITY IS THE ONLY GUILT-FREE FAITH THAT ACTUALLY WORKS–both from God’s Perspective and ours.
In Part Three we’ll see how, in a jealous rage, religion sought to cut into Christianity’s action.