Why Christianity never made sense to me.
There was a time when I seriously considered adopting christianity as a belief system. There are a lot of different denominations to choose from, but I never got as far as determining if any of them agreed with the minor quibbles I had. I didn't get that far because I failed to agree with a basic tenet that is required of all christians of any denomination.
Christians are defined as as accepting the sacrifice of the son of god Jesus Christ to atone for thier sins, and I could not accept. Neccesarily, this short description makes a lot of assumptions. First you have to believe in a god. I was open to that. Next you must believe Jesus Christ was the son of god. The circumstances around that were hard to believe, but I could suspend my disbelief for the sake of argument and perhaps more permanently. When I was questing, I wasn't doing it with a rational mindset of proof required. I was going along with what the preachers suggested, and looking inside myself for the idea that this story would be validated from within. My major stumbling block was the rest of the sentance: Accepting sacrifice as atonement for sin.
From what I understood, and I admit to ignorance, the old testament set up the formula. When a sin was commited you had to atone. You had to be really truly sorry, intend to never repeat the mistake, and then to seal the deal, you had to make a sacrifice. The new testament changed the rules a bit, you no longer have to sacrifice your own things, because god made the biggest sacrifice for you.
This struck me as deeply wrong. I think everyone has had a moment when they decided to become someone better than they were. Most people can look back and recognize at some point something they have done is wrong, be truly sorry, and never intend to repeat their mistakes. Now reaching that point, why are we required to destroy something? Why must we either take an animal life or destroy something valuable? Religious dogma requires it, but I could not justify it as ethically right. Christianity takes it to an even further extreme, and replaces animal sacrifice and the destruction of value with human/deific(sp?) sacrifice. To be Christian, you have to accept that something must be destroyed to make up for your mistakes, and that something is your god made flesh Jesus Christ.
I understand that something can be destroyed as a result of a mistake, and while that is regrettable and unethical, willfully destroying something because you made a mistake is unethical to a larger degree. I could not agree with it at all. I'll give an example. If I am driving while drunk, plow into a sheep and kill it, that is unethical. As a result, I should hopefully realize driving impaired is a mistake, and plan to never do it again. If I am driving drunk, plow into a sheep and kill it, then go home, realized driving impaired is a mistake, plan to never do it again, then religiously kill a second sheep, that is unethical to a larger degree. I have to say that the willful destruction compounds the mistake and makes it worse, and cannot believe otherwise.
When I voiced this concern to those folks introducing me to christianity they were puzzled for a moment. Then they suggested that god didn't want us to willfully sacrifice as a part of atonement anymore, he did it for us! My immediate thought was this: If he didn't want us to sacrifice anymore, why didn't he just change the rules? He could have just foregone the whole sending his son bit, and if he had, that would make more sense to me. Of course if he had, there would be no christians. Instead of voicing that argument though, I settled on one that seemed more stable to me. If it is not moral for me to sacrifice another man to atone for my wrongdoing (I consider it to be not moral), it remains just as wrong for another to sacrifice that man on my behalf, even if that other is god.
My disbelief in the christian god stemmed not from lack of positive proof or the storys that made wild assertions, but on moral grounds that forbid me from accepting human sacrifice as atonement for my wrongdoing.
I welcome discussion and criticism, I am fairly new here, but you don't have to be gentle.