Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Story is a Lie

I love when funny religious opportunities fall into my lap. I've been wasting far too much time on Facebook games (uh-huh, I know I'm lame, and that no one but me uses the word "lame" anymore.) Over in the side banner ads, I found this: You can add "The Story" to your personal blog or your church's website for FREE! Share the Good News with your friends and your community.

Thanks, I think I will. :)

Sadly, they don't really mean it about embedding it on your personal blog, at least not if your blog "is obscene, indecent, harassing or otherwise objectionable in the sole discretion of SpreadTruth; or... disparages, or reflects negatively upon, ''" Ah, terms and conditions, how I loathe thee.

Doesn't it say something in that they're afraid to have people who don't already agree with them look at their story? They really only want you to spread the gospel among good Christian folks and church websites. Yeah, I'm sure that'll be real effective at recruiting new converts. (Cowards and morons, all.)

So, sadly, you'll have to settle for following this link. (As much fun as it would be to start a war with fundies, I'd rather it didn't begin by me violating a rule. I'll let them do that, as they are so pernicious at it.) Go look at it and I'll do a jigsaw puzzle while I wait for you.


You done? It's very slick looking, I must admit. They've definitely converted some good designers over the years. And it's a little friendlier than a Jack Chick comic, but not by much. Look closely at the page on "the Fall". I guess God's off the hook for amputees, since apparently everything bad in this world (including biologically evolved viruses - stick it creationists!) is the fault of one man and one woman. But I need to point this out, because I think it's important. This is their interpretation of the serpent tempting Eve (and by extension, Adam).

"Adam and Eve, the first humans... Because God is love and love cannot fully exist without the freedom to make choices (but it can partially exist?) God gave them the freedom to make choices - but with consequences."

Okay, parent lecture time: In order for kids to get good at making decisions, they have to have a lot of opportunities to practice that skill set. But you don't actually set your kid up for punishment - you offer two acceptable options and let the child choose between them. I let my son pick which out five t-shirts he wants to wear to school that day, and which pair of shoes. When he starts acting up at the pool, I ask him "Do you want to play nicely in the pool by the rules, or do you want to go home and play with your toys there?" Neither choice leads to negative consequences or punishment; I give him two "good" choices to pick from.

As he gets older, he'll be faced with much more complex decisions, with more serious consequences than wearing a clashing outfit in his class photo. Because he's getting so much early practice now, and building confidence in his ability to choose for himself, I expect he'll be pretty good at it. But I wouldn't offer him a "choice" with dire consequences, like those that are supposedly due to the Fall. I wouldn't place a loaded gun on my coffee table and say, "You can play with any toy in the room, but not that one." The chance that he might pick it up out of curiosity (not a desire to usurp me or rebel) and seriously injure himself is far too great for him to engage in such risky behavior - because I love him. God cannot both have placed the Tree in the Garden and be "Love". What He supposedly offered wasn't a choice; it was a trap.

Let's go further into what The Story has to say about Adam and Eve and the Snake.

One day Satan... told Adam and Eve a lie. He deceived them into thinking God was not good and did not have their best interest in mind. As a result, they willfully disobeyed God and broke the only rule He had given: not to eat the fruit of a specific tree. In rebellion Adam and Eve decided that they, not God, would determine what is right and what is wrong.

Well, see, that's just not true. I know this story very, very well. (I believed it was literal truth until a year and a half ago. Shut up, I know.) What the Bible actually says is that Satan told Adam and Eve that they would not die if they ate the fruit (which God had said) and that they would gain the knowledge of good and evil. Prior to this point, Adam and Even didn't have that knowledge - they had no sense of morality, or of right and wrong. That's the whole point of the story, so it bugs the hell outta me when Christians try to paint A&Es actions as intentional "willful" sin. They did not know good and evil. God punishes them for picking up the gun off the coffee table, when they don't even know that they aren't supposed to disobey him. Or if they were supposed to unquestioningly obey him, and the second they didn't they'd suffer all the "consequences" of the Fall, then that's not real love or real choice or real freedom either. It's a set up.

Furthermore, the last sentence irks me. "In rebellion Adam and Eve decided that they, not God, would determine what is right and what is wrong." Bible reading FAIL! It had nothing to do with the decision to take from god the moral judgment of "This is right, this is wrong" (which humans have always had - god(s) are imaginary). The story is about Adam and Eve gaining the pre-existing knowledge of what is good and what is not. This is a weird attempt at painting Adam and Eve as secularists or moral relativists or something. And any good atheist who's read his/her Bible (may I recommend Brick Testament and SAB for those who don't wanna pay a mint for the dead tree version?) knows that the crap in this e-mag is not the same as the crap that's in the "Good News".

Oh well, at least I chose their "Make a decision" button. (Of course, you automatically get checked as choosing "follow Christ" - there ARE NO CHOICES.) But at least I got to tell them I was reading, and hoped to place talk about their project extensively on my blog. Of course, you can't put links in your dialogue, so I just used it as my name instead. Here's the hilarious auto reply I got back:

Thanks! Your decision has been sent.
We will repsond to your message as soon as we can. We will respond via e-mail to angieantitheist@ gmail.c om.

Here's a direct reading of the first three books of Genesis, by the astonishingly funny Ricky Gervais.