Atheist looks at a popular Bible verse: John 3:16by Don Lacey on Nov. 04, 2012, under Atheism, Biblical Inerrancy, Christian Self-Righteous Arrogance, Christianity, Clarity, Critical Thinking, Faith, Freethought, God & Bible, Language, Logic, Reason, Religion, Skepticism
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
This statement may well be the most famous verse in the Bible. It has been called the “Bible in a nutshell” and the essence of Christianity summed-up in one sentence. A closer examination of this verse illustrates much of what is wrong with Christianity. To demonstrate this, I will assume, for the sake of argument, that the Christian God exists (despite all evidence to the contrary) and look at the verse piece by piece:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave…”
We know the verse is referring to Jesus but the Christian God at best only temporarily gave up his son. As is stated in the Apostle’s Creed, following his resurrection, Jesus “ascended into heaven and is (now) seated at the right hand of the Father.” In other words, God was without his son for only a brief time but knew he would get him back shortly afterwards. This can hardly be called a sacrifice on God’s part. What kind of person offers a gift but then takes it back shortly afterwards? How is it an expression of love if you take back the thing you are supposedly giving? Perhaps, a better way of putting this would be “For God so loved the world, that temporarily lent his only begotten son.”
At the same time, this is not completely accurate. God is supposedly infinite and everywhere and in control of all things so Jesus would have technically never been out of God’s possession at any point. This is not to mention that many Christians actually consider Jesus and God to be the same being. Rather than say God actually gave up a son, it would be more accurate to say he came down to earth in order to subject himself to torment. Of course, for infinite being, that views things on a scope above and beyond human understanding, the short-lived torment associated with crucifixion would be completely inconsequential. This also brings up another problem. Jesus is supposed to represent a sacrifice to God for the sins of others which puts God in the awkward position of giver and receiver. One can hardly be said to have given anything if he or she is doing both the giving and receiving.
“his only begotten Son”
Christians like to present God as a parent who lost a child on our behalf. They forget the fact that this “son” was apparently begotten specifically for purpose of serving as a human sacrifice which certainly cheapens the value of the gesture. This is not to mention that this God would certainly have had the ability to make an infinite number of sons or daughters if he wanted also very much cheapening supposed sacrifice. It also sounds like much less of a loss when we take into account that Jesus is really supposed to be God himself in a different form. This would suggest that rather actually suffer any loss God just went through a very bloody shape shift routine.
“that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life ”
Why is the supposed sacrifice even necessary? If the Christian God loved the world so much, could he not have granted everlasting life to people without fake sacrifices or brutal torture scenes? Upon closer examination Christians are actually asking us to believe that their god has sacrificed HIMSELF to HIMSELF in order to change HIS rules to save other people from HIS own wrath. This is complete absurdity.
Why should God’s judgment be so contingent upon beliefs anyway? After all, no one alive today was around during the time Jesus supposedly walked the Earth and the claims made are so unbelievable and so unsupported by evidence that there is no logical reason to believe them. It is silly to think that one’s beliefs about incidents that took place over 2000 years ago should be the basis for which people are judged. There are many much better measures of one’s character.
It is ridiculous that something like the ability to live forever would be distributed based on what people believe about a long past historic event. Of course this also overlooks the fact that people who do not believe this still get to live forever. The only difference is that the nonbelievers just get to be tortured forever in their eternal lives.
Perhaps then, John’s gospel should have put it:
“For God so loved the world, that he temporarily lent his only begotten son, which he made specifically for this purpose (and could easily made more of), so that all who are willing to believe this on the thinnest of evidence, will not be subject to the same eternal torture that God has in store for everyone else.
This is actually a much closer approximation of what Christians actually believe. Note once again that in this exercise I only assumed that the Christian God exists for the sake of argument. I actually do not believe any God exist. Furthermore I find it amazing that more people do not recognize the claims of Christianity for the moral and logical absurdity that they are.