Here is what I wish I could say to the whole Christian world:
Christians, the hour of your deliverance is at hand. My paraphrase of St. Paul is quite intentional: it is he and his awful system that I wish to engage on your behalf. Your freedom depends on a single, simple act. Winning it will be almost effortless, and probably painless as well. All you need do is give close and honest consideration to a single proposition.
Rather than tell you outright what that proposition is, I’m going to illustrate it with a passage from a book which you consider to be the perfect, divinely-inspired Word of God. In Numbers 15 we find the story of a man who was caught picking up sticks on the Sabbath. He was brought before Moses, who then consulted God in the matter. God’s judgment was unequivocal: he is guilty – stone him to death (just how God’s voice was perceived by Moses, we are not told). The stick-picker-upper received the very same penalty incurred for being homosexual (Leviticus 20:13) or for being a bride found non-virginal on her wedding night (Deuteronomy 22) or for being accused of witchcraft (Exodus 22:18) or for being disobedient to one’s parents (Deuteronomy 21:18-21). Note: he received this penalty from the creator of a hundred billion galaxies, each of which contains a hundred billion stars (I’m rounding for convenience), orbited by uncountable billions of planets. Such a creator levied the death penalty against a man who was “guilty” of picking up sticks on the Sabbath. Does anything seem slightly askew in this picture?
The rejoinder I most often hear is “That’s Old Testament – it no longer applies because Christ’s perfect sacrifice has satisfied all the conditions of the Law, and we may now be forgiven of all our sins simply by accepting Jesus as our savior.” In saying that, you have weakened your moral case instead of strengthening it. You have begun with a horror, and compounded the horror by infusing it with the grotesquerie of propitiatory human sacrifice.
Please consider: your argument is that the penalty levied against the unfortunate man who was caught picking up sticks on the Sabbath is perfectly just: God cannot look upon sin; all sin is worthy of death. God has said to keep the Sabbath holy by doing no work; picking up sticks is work; therefore, the man must die. Do you seriously believe this? Do you approve of it? Do you really have no moral impulse that recoils from something this monstrous? Assuming the fourth commandment makes any sense in the first place (and it doesn’t), suppose the man’s children were freezing and he needed to gather sticks for a fire to keep them from dying? Suppose they were starving, but he had a perfectly good chicken he could cook for them, if only he had fuel for a fire? Do you seriously believe that God’s death penalty for something as innocent as picking up sticks on the Sabbath is a punishment that fits the alleged crime?
The God of the Bible is a moral monster, made in the image of the moral monsters who created him.
You’re an intelligent person. You are in possession of that unique neural wiring that makes us different from all the other animals: we have the ability to reason. Given that ability, how can you worship a God like that? The answer is easy, and ought to be just as obvious to you as it is to me: you were indoctrinated in that horror from earliest childhood, just as I was. You were marinated in a kind of Orwellian double-speak, where abject, slavish devotion to a Mesopotamian sky-monster is hailed as the ultimate freedom. Children believe what the authority figures in their lives tell them to believe. Many people never stop believing those things. You are among them. You have been had. Bamboozled. Screwed. Much of your life has been wasted. You ought to be really, really pissed off at the people who have done this to you.
Let me ask you: back in junior high, or whenever you heard about the following historical periods, what did you think about the Renaissance and the Enlightenment? Did you consider them to be good things or bad things? It would be very much worth your while to revisit those moments, and consider your response to them. Where do you stand on the issues of moral progress, rationality and freedom?
You cannot approve of those biblical horrors and you know it. The best you can do is try to ignore them – and that’s nowhere near good enough, is it?
I challenge you: stop denying that religion is a pack of lies. Declare your independence from those God-awful institutions and teachings that have enslaved your mind and made you their bitch. Walk away from them, and take as many people with you as you can. Close ranks with that generation that is finally awakening from the long nightmare of our species, a nightmare into which humanity sank some five millennia ago when our first overlords invented the scourge of religion to secure their illegitimate prerogatives and keep all the rest of us tractable and submissive.
A universe awaits your discovery, and it is far grander and more awe-inspiring than any God ever was.
That’s what I wish I could say to the whole Christian world, but would they listen?