So I was reading Balls and Walnuts today, and I wanted to respond in the comments, but I knew it would end up being a book, so I decided to come over here and take a stab [HA!] at why Christians seem to like the passover and crucifixion so much.
Here’s a linkto Doug’s original story. It was a blog against theocracy post, and I rather agree with Doug’s view that people like George W. are completely insane and more than likely don’t have an inside track on the mind of God. And just for the record, I know better than to think I have one, either.
So anyway, I was reading yesterday’s post, and I commented, and then I read the original post after the fact, and a thought popped into my head that might help non-Christians understand why Christians don’t seem to make any sense.
I know it seems like we’re completely bonkers, but I think it’s more that our perspective is different than any real craziness [I’m talking about mainstream Christianity here, not the fringe weird fundamentalist crap that is a cancer on Christianity’s ass… that’s another post altogether].
The main thing that is different between us is the belief that God is our creator. Christians believe that God made man out of nothing. The image of clay is used in Genesis, and it communicates the essence of the belief very well: we are nothing but dust without God.
In the same way that I can make a sculpture out of wet clay and destroy it or squash it up and make something new if I don’t like what I’ve done, Christians believe that God is our ‘sculptor’ [if you want to continue the analogy] and he can squash us, paint us, fire us in a kiln, or break us into a million pieces whenever he wants, because we belong to him. He gave us life, and he can take it away.
That goes against everything people want to believe about themselves, and I can hear the screams of outrage, and the judgment that I must be completely insane to believe such things. However, that is why the passover doesn’t make me scream that God is immoral any more than reading a book where the writer kills my favorite character makes me scream that the author is immoral.
I like this analogy, so let’s go with it!
I might get angry at the author, and I may never read another one of her books, but ultimately, it’s her book, not mine. And she knows a LOT more about the story than I do, so there might be a very good reason to kill the character.
I’m not privy to the author’s character and plot notes, so I may have no idea why she wrote something the way she did. It may irritate the hell out of me, or even make me decide I hate her personally [if I’m a bit childish], but the only choice I really have in dealing with it is to either accept that she knows what she’s doing, and trust that the ending will be worth the pain of having my favorite character written out, or to decide that she’s a complete hack and not worthy of me spending anymore of my time and money on reading her stuff.
I can also write to her and ask her to explain herself, but we all know that she has no obligation to answer or even acknowledge that I’ve contacted her. The analogy fails because we’re talking about living, breathing people here, but in the end, I think it holds true. And maybe even more so because from this view, we’re essentially characters in God’s creation, and much like a writer’s characters take on a life and begin to do things we never intended within the story, we probably do the same to God, eh?
This is only a small part of the story, but it’s a bit of a foundation for our faith: God is God. I am not.
If there is a creator, he created me, and he’s really under no moral obligation to me to explain, justify or modify his behavior. Since I’m just a creation [albeit a wonderful, complex, and interesting one] if he wants to annihilate the entire planet, what am I gonna do about it?
I don’t have to agree with his choice, but seriously, does it matter? I’m still gone.
I am well aware that there are nerves shattering all over the blogosphere right now, and there is a whole lotta more stuff to go along with this, but when you look at Christianity and the Bible through that lens, hopefully you can begin to understand where we’re coming from, and why we don’t question everything all the time.
For me, I’m focusing on the stuff in the Bible that affects me right now: trying to love God, and trying to love others [I realize that based on what I’ve written above, there isn’t much to recommend loving God, but trust me, that’s not all there is].
The second piece of the Christian perspective is more important than the first, and that is that in spite of the fact that I am dust, God loves me even more than I love my own children [no, seriously, but that’s another post].
Anyway, this really isn’t about trying to convince anyone that I’m “right.” I’m not looking to argue theology, I’m just hoping this made enough sense that you can at least understand the frame of reference we’re dealing with.