Born Right the First Time?
The purpose of most religion is to make us “better” than we currently are. The Biblical premise is that all human beings are fatally flawed, not good enough and in need of vast improvements and control of their “human nature.” Without this ongoing overcoming of the evil self, growing towards a better kind of person and change, one runs the risk of being so not good enough that they will spend eternity, for their inability to change over a rather short lifetime, in a punishing hell. Scripture goes out of its way to remind us all that our fundamental human qualities are deceit, wickedness, jealousy, anger, lust and greed. I find that personally to be one of the most unhelpful and controlling lies ever foisted upon human beings by religion. Of course that is how we can act, but that is not who we are by any real means when given the freedom to be authentic and feel safe in being so.
We are called “worms” and less than nothing in this great book of encouragement. Even the early leaders, prophets and apostle types knew that they had to degrade themselves as less than human in order to show they understood they were not worth anything as an unregenerate human being. Only when one realized they were a piece of poop, could they lead the people who were really poopy people Hope this goes well for the first time. If you could not utter the words, “I am not worthy,” you would never be a Bible CEO. The Apostle Paul noted that he was “the least of the Apostles” and that “the things that I don’t want to do, I do and the things I should, I don’t.” He made his problems everyone’s. He concluded he was simply a wretched human being, and so should everyone else. He reminded others that they were blind, miserable, poor and naked of heart and spirit. He even said he had to beat himself into submission, lest after preaching to others, he should flub up himself and be a castaway. Seems he didn’t have the confidence “in the blood,” to make up the differences in what he was and what he felt he needed to be.
Jesus is also said to have said that humans are to become “perfect, even (in the same way) as your Father in heaven is perfect.” No challenge there to be better than one is at any one moment! Of course this is not possible and it is not possible or plausible in any “now I’m converted and full of the Holy Spirit” way. You have never met any Christian who has reached this goal in life. I have met some who act like they have and I have met some who agonize of not being able, but I have never met one that did in fact, whatever that means. Actually they would be one freaky human being I would think.
How did we get this way? Well, of course it was due to the “fall” where Adam and Eve, our really true and actual first human parents, created by God out of mud and ribs, flubbed up and ate the forbidden fruit. We have all been blamed for this event and must spend our lives coming under a blood sacrifice of a more perfect human/god being and then continuing the struggle to be “better” until we die. Its then we find out we understood being bad enough to be good enough to live forever. Redemption of humans by blood sacrifice and execution have always been the preferred solution to the depravity of man. Membership in the club usually cost ten or more percent of your material income and membership in the one true of many churches. I am not being disrespectful to the life and teachings of Jesus but few understand how that has been woven into a tale that Jesus himself would have cringed at.
I remember as a teen when it was “time you were baptised” being told I was all these miserable things and in need of deep and heartfelt repentance and, of course, a savior. The minister took me through all the Ten Commandments and asked me if I understood that I had broken EVERY ONE of them all my short life and thus, was condemned to death. I was a mere 18 year old, nice kid, good home, pretty compliant, a bit guilt and shame ridden by upbringing, but not a really big nasty sinner on drugs with three illegitimate kids. And yet, here I sat being convinced I worshipped other gods, (money, success, human hopes and dreams), somehow always took God’s name in vain, (mom and dad would have washed my mouth out with soap…I only learned to cuss and such after being in the ministry) and worshipped on the wrong day of the week along with having to repent of keeping the wrong Holy Days all my short life.
I was in some deep evil way a killer, adulterer, thief, liar and coveter of all men’s goods and women. When I said I hadn’t really killed anyone, I was told that I hated and that’s the same thing. I admitted I had not had sex with anyone to that point, but my lust covered that one too. I wanted to say, “well no, I really hadn’t done that either”, but that would have been ill advised if I ever wanted to get baptised and have a future with the group. He told me to come back another day and more deeply repent of my nasty, evil and wicked 18 year old self. Of course I did in time and joined the “you still aren’t good enough” club for the next three decades as a pastor who then passed the good news of human depravity on to thousands and reminding them that while they might think they are nice people, they are under the eternal death penalty those stinkers Adam and Eve brought upon us all no matter. However, I did a bit of growing myself and concluded the story of my guilt by association to Adam and Eve wasn’t literally true. Human beings have evolved for the most part as good science has noted. I’ve had my own genome mapped back 60,000 years to all our African origins. I don’t believe that it would be a very fair thing for humans to pay a literal and eternal death penalty based on a mythical and not literally true story.
Have you ever considered the fact that you and I may have been born right the first time? What if the most simple and spiritual goal a human being has is to become your own genuine, authentic and self? What if our purpose in life is neither to jump through the hoops set out by others, who think they know, nor to struggle and strive to improve yourself dramatically over what you are? People don’t change much over a life time no matter what their religious affiliations, and while it’s an improvement to stop killing one’s self with sugar, caffeine, alcohol and nicotine along with other assorted body killing habits, it’s OK to just be yourself.