The religious are fond of creating stories to make a point, they call them parables. The following is a parable created by yours truly.
A moderately sized airliner prepares for take off. Aboard are a pilot, a co-pilot and 40 evangelists on their way to a remote point to preach the word of their god to the ignorant.
As the plane rolls down the tarmac, the pilot eases up the throttle. The plane roars down the runway and lifts gently into the air. Just as they reach a couple hundred feet a flock of geese suddenly appears in front of the still climbing machine. It’s too late, several of the large birds are sucked into the turbines and the engines flame out. Panic sets in as the pilot and co-pilot frantically attempt to restart the engines. A large hill looms ahead leaving no time for the pilots to do anything except exclaim “Awww shh….” The plane with extreme violence thunders into the hill destroying the plane.
Moments pass… then, from the wreckage, one of the evangelists, pushing aside some debris, rises from the mangled mess, with nary a scratch. All others have met their fates.
What a miracle, some claim, that this man walked away from such a horrendous crash. Yet there is the problem about the 39 other evangelists. Why did god save one sole man from destruction, yet allow 39 other, equally religious and upright men die?
And what about the pilots? Oh well, they were Catholics.
Some might say that god called these poor evangelists home. It could then be asked “What does heaven need with 39 evangelists? Who will they be preaching to there? What purpose will they serve? Aren’t they more needed on Earth?”
Another might say that god simply didn’t like the messages the others were spreading, perhaps contrary to his teachings. Then why take them to heaven? Or were they taken there?
At this point, faced with difficult questions, there is always the standby excuse: “Man cannot know the reasoning of the lord.” But… is not man made in god’s image, did not man sin by consuming the fruit of the tree of knowledge? With this knowledge isn’t it easy to see that the killing of the 39 was an evil act?
“Oh but, there is free will. They didn’t have to get on that plane.” Free will, how can free will exist if god knows all things? Things of old, things now, and things to come. In the face of so many contradictions there is the old standby again.
“Man cannot know the mind of god.”
Isn’t that part of the problem? One cannot know the mind of god. Further, there is no way to know god. Many claim that god’s words are in the bible, but it has been proven the product of ancient peoples, trying to create an understanding about their world, trying to assuage their own fears of being unable to control their environment. Every religion is a product of humans, all were for the same purpose.
Even if the bible were the imparted words of a god, they are so vague, and can be interpreted in so many ways, that their usefulness is simply up to the user, for whatever purposes they desire. So many books have been deleted from the bible as well. What human can determine which are to be included? What if a crucial book has been deleted? What if those books included were not the intended words of god?
Am I sowing doubt? I am sowing nothing. The crop is already in the field. The questions are relevant to anyone using the power of reason. To many the delusion of religion is readily apparent. A thinking man must go through impossible hoops to convince himself of religion’s validity. Reason usually leads to atheism unless adequate mental blocks are erected against logic and reason. In those intelligent men of reason that believe, reality has to be suspended in the matters of faith.