You Just Don't Understand
A theist took issue with my reading of the bible, saying that if I just gave my heart to god I would be made to understand what I was reading. Otherwise, he assured me, I would never understand it, and I wold be be doomed to eternal punishment. My response to him follows:
It's interesting that you begin with what amounts to a threat, and then tell me I should seek, and meditate on, and revere the individual who would torture me forever if I do not. You aren't in the advertising business, are you! "Love this god, or he will burn you forever!"
You say the scripture is harder to understand since we all do not speak and read Hebrew or Aramaic (or ancient Greek, you might have added). This is something no apologist has ever adequately explained. The creator of the universe, supposedly a being of ultimate and unbounded power, possessing complete foreknowledge of everything that will ever happen, commissions documents to be written in languages that almost no one will understand, doesn't even preserve the originals of those documents, and expects people generations or even millennia after the fact to understand, no matter what language they speak. This after he confounded the languages according to his own book.
Aramaic is a dead language. And the Hebrew of Moses (if, indeed there ever was a Moses) is not the same as that of modern speakers, any more than English from as short a time ago as Chaucer is readable by modern speakers without copious marginal notes and definitions. Harder to understand? The bible is translated differently by many translators, and interpreted to death by many so-called biblical scholars. Most of them can't agree on the meaning, so how could people in their billions be expected to?
John 6:44 says no one can come to Jesus without being called by the father. How many people would you estimate never even heard of Jesus or Yahweh? Billions? Yet the penalty for not accepting this nonsense is everlasting agony? It takes an imagination like Steven King's to dream up such a horror story, and the loving concern and human kindness of a Ted Bundy to foist it off on gullible people as something real.
I am accountable to my fellow human beings for my behavior during this brief span. I do not accept that there is any eternal force to whom I owe anything at all.