PZ Myers had an interesting post about a site that asked people to sum up the message of the Bible in one sentence. Here are some examples:
“God is in the process of recreating the universe which has been corrupted by sin and has made it possible for all those and only those who follow Jesus to be a part of the magnificent, eternal community that will result.”
“The Bible tells how the loving Creator God restored a lost humanity and cosmos through reestablishing his rule through Jesus Christ and the provision of life to His honor.”
“A holy God sends his righteous Son to die for unrighteous sinners so we can be holy and live happily with God forever.”
“Apprenticing with Jesus to become human again.”
“God glorifies himself in the redemption of sinners.”
I chose these quotes because they have the theme of redemption in common. The concept that an almighty god sent his son to atone for our sins.
It is this concept of redemption and atonement, more than anything else, that finally made me decide that god doesn’t exist. My reasoning is simple. If god is all powerful, capable of anything, then why not just forgive sins on an individual basis? Why the high drama? Why the suffering?
The story of Jesus dying for humanity’s sins, the idea of redemption and everlasting life, is a myth built on the human need to feel that our lives have purpose and meaning; that death isn’t really the end. It belongs up there with the stories of other gods and heros from other cultures that are meant to inspire us to be better than we are. But it is myth, just as the stories of the Greek, Roman, Norse and other gods and heros are. Jesus is this society’s Perseus or Hercules, but he is no more real than they are and there is no reason we should put any more credence in the story of Christianity then we should those of the Greeks or Romans.
The fact that we still cling to myth is psychologically complex and has its roots in our evolution as social animals, but that doesn’t mean we have to be ruled by it. Reason and understanding of the workings of the world we live in provide us with the knowledge and tools to overcome our evolutionary biases and live life in the real world, not in a world of myth and legend.