Sunday, March 22, 2009

If Christainity were true, Jesus would probably be Satan in disguise

According to Christians, Satan is the ultimate deceiver. Furthermore, we are told, Satan has been given dominion over the earth. His task here is to prove to God that mankind is unworthy of God's love, kindness, and mercy, and in fact, given even a modicum of temptation, most men will invariably fall to his devices and succumb to the petty pleasures which God has set morality at variance against. Satan is perhaps seen as the second strongest force next to God himself, the epitome of evil, lies, and deception, and will stop at nothing to mask the truth and manipulate mankind. Christians generally agree Satan is no fool. While he is undoubtedly evil and malicious, he is incredibly cunning. In fact, Christians think Satan is both the most evil being, and, short of god, the cleverest. We can thus sum up the Christian view as follows:

1) Satan is the most evil being possible

2) Satan is possessed of supernatural intelligence, far exceeding that of mortal human beings.

Accordingly, the tactics he employs in the world to deceive us should be both evil AND incredibly clever.

So far so good. But why, then, do Christians think Satan's strategy for corrupting us is so transparent, so obvious? What hubris they have to suppose that of all beings on the planet, only they possess the intelligence, wisdom, and acuity to pierce through his deception - while at the same time affirming that moral goodness is obvious and self-evident! If they were, how on earth could Satan POSSIBLY deceive us? The best we could say is that people willingly choose evil, not that we are deceived. But Satan is, we are assured, the "father of lies" and fools us on a daily basis.

I propose that, if Christian theology is true, that Satan as the ultimate deceiver, has in fact developed the ultimate strategy of deception. And how would Satan do this? By convincing us that he himself was God. Since Christians see God as the ultimate source of truth. And here is the clincher. Ultimately, God wants us to obey his laws and his commands. They aren't necessarily the nicest, or most loving of commands, but what God, in his omniscience and omnipotence, has decreed the most just. Jesus came to, Christians say, fulfill and remove the necessity of the old laws, and replace them with something kind and loving. But if Jesus were not really God or God's messenger, would it really matter if what he replaced the old law with was something nice, or something nasty and malicious? No, it would not.

All that would matter is that we were deviating from God's laws. Regardless of what we replaced them with, no matter how good we are convinced they are, they are not God's laws, and hence all of us would be violating God's laws. If your goal were to trick people into violating God's will, why would you try to entice us to do what is obviously evil, rather than entice us to do what is relatively benign, but still in violation of god's commands and hence, from God's point of view, a sort of evil, a transgression and violation of his divine command? If whatever God wills is the good, this would in fact be fact a form of evil, however counterintuitive this may seem.

And this is exactly what Jesus implores us to do. Jesus says we don't have to follow the old rules anymore, but in a way that convinces the believer that, rather than abandoning these laws, he himself can serve as a surrogate, a conduit through which God can be appeased. Isn't this exactly what an incredibly clever, incredibly malicious being would do? We're all familiar with the phrase "A wolf in sheep's clothing". Satan, no doubt, is too. But wouldn't a much more clever deceiver pose as the shepherd?

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