Follow by Email

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Is Christianity an Utopia?

My son has been chatting on line with a guy who claims to be a Christian.                             
This individual told him that, in the afterlife, God will be my son's “worse 
nightmare”. The man felt so sorry for the unbelievers. because they were
 going to burn in hell. God, he insisted, is not all-loving, in fact He hates 
people like my son.

I was deeply embarrassed. One thing is, for example, to maintain that 
fundamentalists are wrong, because we know for a fact that the earth is 
not six thousand years old. 
A different thing is to maintain that the guy on line is wrong on the ground
that I know the nature of God and he doesn't. It's hard to argue on the basis
of a “modern” interpretation of Jesus' cryptic sayings. No wonder people
prefer to put religion aside and think about something more concrete.                          

I sat next to my son and inverted our role at the computer: As a religious 
person, I wanted to chat with an atheist. 
The first one who text-messaged me said that Jesus was crazy, or he 
wouldn't have claimed to be the Messiah.                     
I felt very tired. Once again I could only argue according with my
understanding of Christ, but it would have been pointless.
The guy was too far behind.
I wanted to scream:” Please, Jesus, do something! Come back riding on
clouds, if this is what it takes!”

Instead, I left the computer to my son. I wasn’t going to argue with people
 I don’t care about. But I do care a lot about my son, so I told him:

“Your guy was a fundamentalist. Religious people are not all full of
 hatred like he is".                                                     
 “I know,” he said, “but you both share the same mindset. Once you
refrain from criticizing propositions without evidence, where do you
draw the line? It’s a dangerous attitude, the same that can lead
to terrorism.”

“I think that morality comes before religion, “I answered.”The 
terrorist lacks moral sense, that’s why he can embrace a belief that tells
him to kill the infidels. If Jesus had ever suggested anything of that kind,
I wouldn’t believe in him.”

“Even Jesus made a few immoral statements of his own.” said my son, 
annoying me quite a bit. "The very idea of hell is immoral".

“We have been over this already. Find another one.”

“To love your enemy is immoral.”

“Really? How so?”

“It certainly is, given the world we live in. If you love your enemy, 
if you don’t defend he will destroy you".                                                                                                                                 
“So what? If I choose to be passive, that’s my own problem. Immorality
 is to hurt someone else.
You may think that pacifism doesn’t work, but not that it’s immoral.”

“Our moral sense is a product of evolution, mom. It’s a combination of 
self-interest and of a genuine desire for the ones we love to be happy.
The golden rule is an ideal we naturally strive for, because we care
for the survival of our species. But we can’t always live up to it, for
dire reasons. War should always be the last resort, but sometimes one 
must standup against injustice."

“What you don’t understand is that Jesus had a vision of a world beyond 
time,” I replied.”He saw that, in the long run, only peace will produce stability.                                                                                       
I admit that in today’s society his message seems impossible to realize.
But in a thousand years, if we don’t destroy ourselves
first, love will defeat evil.”

“Listen to you! You talk of love and evil and worlds beyond! I‘m 
interested in this one! Where is your God when evil happens?"

“He’s silent, but not absent,” I said. “We need the Christian utopia 
for the human race to survive. It's as simple as that".


Manny said...

There are Catholics that also have the same hard understanding of God. The difference with fundementalists is that they all think they are theologians.

Do you know of Fr. Baron? He's a philosopher priest and he has this great website and makes youtube videos on all the theological/philosophical issues. Here is his video naswering this very question:

I think you and your son would like his work. His website is this:

By the way, if you remember, I am a universalist and believe eventually everyone comes out of hell. That's not church teaching, but that's what I hold as a personal belief.

Antonella said...

I am with you,I just didn't know that the belief that everyone comes out of hell is called universalism. Yes, I know Father Baron, I'll watch this video soon, thanks!