I have a headache, and as I wait for the Tylenol to kick in, I’m writing a blog about a heavy topic that has been weighing on me for months. So forgive me if I get snappy or rude… it’s partly my dry sarcasm, but mostly the pain between my eyes.

This is the blog I never intended to write. There are two topics I shy away from discussing, because the discussions between people of opposing opinions never end well… Politics and Religion.  You can’t debate either without offending someone; it’s not like debating whether to become a nurse or a teacher. Whether to decorate your home in Modern Traditional or French Country.
If you’re a Republican or Democrat, you ARE – by your very beliefs – trampling someone’s rights, defiling our nation’s traditions, ruining our children’s future, and destroying the environment.  Likewise, if you have any sort of faith (or lack of faith), you are
endangering your immortal soul and corrupting everyone else’s morals.   Even people claiming to believe in the same deity and dogma, are quick to condemn each other to Hell or worse.

I’m going to write this blog for one purpose only. I’m not going to title it, tag it, or advertise it.  I will however give the link to anyone wishing to debate its contents with me, only to preserve my sanity elsewhere. If I’m on Facebook, Twitter, or pumping gas,
I wish to be left alone. I’m sick of defending myself to everyone, whether the intentions are well-meant or not.

Whatchu talking bout, Willis?

Lately, I’ve become a target for conversion, from every imaginable source.  On-line and off-line, at work and at my front door… there’s been a rash of concern for my relationship with God and everyone claims to have a “pressing need” to share John 3:16 with me.
Raise your hands if you’ve heard John 3:16?
Raise your hands if you can quote it verbatim?
Raise your hands if you can quote it in various translations, and multiple languages?
Sic enim dilexit Deus mundum
Okay, good, we’re all on the same page. 🙂

A bit of background:
I was raised in a Christian family, attended a Christian school, was very active in church activities while in high school, and even held a position as pianist for 4 years, playing hymns for the congregation on Sunday.  I sang 1st soprano in the church choir, and
performed as a “special musical guest” in various local churches, as well as participating in my community choir (which traveled around and performed religious pieces for holidays).
  I’ve also read the Bible cover to cover, including the boring bits, although a complete stranger on Facebook tried to call me a liar:
“Nobody has ever read the entire Bible.” 
Erm… well unless she’s referring to ‘lost scriptures’ burned by Latin monks, then
I know quite a few fanatics, and many pastors, who would disagree with her. 😉

Anyway… I grew up believing the words written in the Bible, as a child takes for granted the existence of Santa Claus until proven otherwise.  In this case, my environment fostered the beliefs, and to this day… it is difficult to deny the existence of God, Jesus,
and all the cast of characters therein.
  That isn’t to say I accepted every word from my teachers and pastors as gospel-truth.  I’ve argued countless times with my elders, on points ranging from inter-racial marriage (me = pro, them = against) to whether animals have souls (again, me = pro, them = against).
 However, the fundamental core of Christianity – the sin of man, which led to our damnation, and the subsequent sacrifice of Jesus to cover our sins (giving us the chance at eternal life) – was something I never questioned. 

So what happened?

I’ve always tolerated the beliefs of others; in the beginning, it bothered me that these folks were “doomed to Hell”, and I realized that their religious beliefs were just as real and “true” for them as mine were. Some of my high school friends (Bobby, bless his heart) even tried to convert me… essentially, we were all being taught the same thing.  Although I still held on to my own religion, I also began to question God’s motives.  These were good people, trying to serve God in their own way… and yet, here we were – Jews and Christians, Catholics and Protestants, Mormons and Jehovah’s – all condemning one another.
Notice I didn’t mention atheists, because at the time, I still believed they were screwed. 😉

Was this what God intended? Was He going to throw a bunch of followers into Hell for a interpretational hang-up?

I began looking for a church that was a bit more open-minded, and at one point considered myself a Universalist.  They were a breath of fresh air, in the sense that spirituality and a faith in Something held rank over petty quarrels about whether Jesus visited America or whether Hell even exists as we know it.

But, I need to fast forward a bit…. I mentioned John 3:16 for a reason.
Every witnessing track and speech, every Christmas service… begins and ends with John 3:16, because it is the crux of what Christianity stands for. Jesus died so we could live.

It wasn’t until I became a parent myself, that I began to question that statement. I put myself into God’s place… *gasp* (a grave mistake my ex-boyfriend warned me against).  Don’t presume to know God, or His motives… His reasons are beyond our human understanding… blah, blah..  You know what?  God made us human. God gave us brains and emotions. It’s a human thing to feel empathy, and put yourself in the position of others.
People who cannot feel empathy usually become psychopathic killers. Hmmmmmm….

Why did God send his only begotten Son to suffer and die on a cross?  For our sins? Because Adam and Eve ate fruit from a tree, which God forbade them to eat.  They disobeyed in a childish manner, defying their Father’s orders.
  My children do the exact same thing each and every day.  Mia knows not to dump her cup of milk on the table… she gets punished every time, and yet when I give her a drink,
she gets that wicked gleam in her eye.
  I say “No. Don’t spill your milk.” as she starts to turn the cup over, she watches my expression.
“Mia, Stop!” …and she giggles, as the milk pours across the table and onto the carpet.  It’s pure defiance, and she knows that I’m mad.

So I condemn my daughter to eternal Hell-fire. 

Then my son Jacob, who loves his sister very much, gets distraught and begs me to
forgive her.  Of course, I say “no”.  She disobeyed my orders, and she must die.  Jacob, who is a perfect child, offers to sacrifice himself in a horrible manner on her behalf.  If I take my vengeance on him, he pleads, will I overlook the failings of his beloved sister?
It pains me greatly to see my good child punished, and I don’t want to lose him. But he’s adamant.  Mia means everything to him.
And, of course, once he dies I’ll change my mind and they’ll both reside in Heaven with me anyway….

Hold up.. Wait. That would never happen. But it did…

Honestly, I have no issues against Jesus.  I believe that Jesus died willingly, because He felt it was necessary and He had no other alternative.  God was not going to forgive us, unless a sacrifice was made, and He was the only one able to cover everyone’s sins (for
all time).   But why was it necessary??  Why didn’t God simply forgive Adam and Eve, and say
“You know, I love you.  You disobeyed me, and ate from the tree.  I’m extremely angry with you, and now there’s a HUGE MESS I’m going to be forced to clean up as a result. I’m going to punish you.”
  He could banish them from Eden, make their lives miserable… but why condemn their souls to ever-lasting torment?  No caring parent wants to see their child suffer, regardless of their behaviour.

Throughout the Old Testament, God displayed an attitude that didn’t strike me as “loving” towards humanity. 
Sure, he apologized for the Great Flood, after wiping out 98% of the world’s human and animal population (what did the animals do to piss Him off??)…
He favored the Israelites over everyone else (why? Because Jacob tricked the blessing away from his brother – that’s pettiness),
He helped His “People” destroy other civilizations (men, women, and innocent children) in order to establish themselves,
He asked people to sacrifice their children to prove their faithfulness..
and don’t get me started on Job’s suffering, all because God and Satan had a bet going on.
  Sure, God provided Job with a “new family” after allowing Satan to destroy his children, so does that mean his original family meant nothing to God?  Were they just pawns in some sick game, that their lives were forfeit?

In fact, the book of Job was meant to teach us about God’s authority… He can do anything He wants with us, and to us, because He created us.  He doesn’t answer to His creation; we answer to Him.  Does that kind of mentality sound like a loving, caring Father
figure to you?  Seriously?
  It sounds like Someone on a power trip; granted, He is all-powerful and has the freedom to take any method of ego-trip He wants.
But it seems to me that Jesus loves us, not God.  God merely relented, for love of His own Son, and allowed us into Heaven because Jesus sacrificed his life on our behalf.

I feel for Jesus.  I appreciate the sacrifice He made for us.  I will teach my children about Him, and hopefully when they are grown enough to understand, they will examine their own feelings towards Jesus and His Father.  Not My Father…

If being “saved” means that I must submit humbly to God and keep my mouth shut, than I no longer consider myself saved. God doesn’t appreciate half-hearted worship anyhow; I would be reduced to Holy Vomit.
God made the mistake of giving me free will, supposedly to cater to His ego.. since it’s more flattering to be loved by someone with a choice.  I choose not to love Him.  I acknowledge Him as my Creator, and He can torture and kill me, and send me to burn in Hell… I don’t care what He does to me. I’ll be a martyr for my beliefs.
But when He touches a hand on my family and my children, or sits back and allows some evil to befall them, then I will hate Him. (No need to take any bets on it)
Not that He cares anyway.  Our opinions are but a drop of water in the ocean, and since I’m not one of his faithful butt-kissers, my opinions are probably tinier than an atom in that drop of water.

 Sic enim dilexit Deus mundum… For God so Loved the World… was written by Jesus’ best friend. A bit biased, methinks.