I’ve been continuing this discussion with Christians about the contradictions of their religion.
I want to highlight this passage from Romans chapter 9, because it shows Paul grappling with the very error I see so boldly in Christian theology. It is here where Paul admits a human life cannot be responsible for its own judgment from god. Using the analogy of the potter he says:
Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses,
“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.
One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?'” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use?
What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As he says in Hosea:
“I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,” and,
“It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them,
‘You are not my people,’
they will be called ‘sons of the living God.’ “
What do you see when you read this passage?
In this passage I see a man struggling with one of the contradictions of his own religion. Yet the Apostle still maintains his hyperbolic faith, his own will to power, or rather, his will to absurdity.
We can make sense of Paul’s will. But we cannot make any sense out of the will of God — a God who selects the saved in advance and claims to be good and righteous in the same breath. The problem of predestination, and the moral bankruptcy of a god who does this, is something Paul and every theologian after has to address. Albeit, failingly.
It is important to always ask what the author is trying to exclude from the text. Where Paul asks a good question, whether his god is unjust, he replies with a question-begging answer. He replies like this:
“But who are you, O man, to talk back to God?”
Following Paul, every theologian who defends the unjust god has to accuse the non-elect and the skeptics of “questioning god.” The take-home message: God simply cannot be defended, but he can surely be offended. (The appeal to the authority of the evil genius–i.e. God–is attractive, since it points the finger once again at the questioner and confuses the burden of proof.)
My friend said there was no way out of this other than to accept God’s love. I said to my friend that there is one way out of this, to reject the religion. There are no solutions to this problem other than to reject God altogether. The solution is godlessness. I began trying to actively convert him to godlessness in the same manner he was trying to convert me to godliness, to demonstrate how ridiculously iconic he was making himself.
Christian evangelism always positions itself above the evangelized in that way. Christians have something they want to offer the godless. But the godless typically never have something they want to offer them back. The godless usually play it cool and offer nothing in return to the religious insanity. But why not offer a way out? Why not offer them godlessness? Why not speak to them thus, “My brothers, I can offer you a way out of these errors–that path is godlessness.”
The unwise, of course, the people – they are like a river on which bark drifts; and in the bark sit the valuations, solemn and muffled up. Your will and your valuations you have placed on the river of becoming; and what the people believe to be good and evil, that betrays to me an ancient will to power.
– Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, “On Self-Overcoming”