“Everything is possible for anyone who has faith” (Mark 9:24, NJB.) Everything is possible if one is injected with heroin too, but that is an illusion. One comes back to a cold, harsh world. Faith, like heroin, will never reverse reality.
“I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3, NJB.) Children have very active imaginations, which is natural, healthy, and does no harm. They are pliable, and usually do as they’re told. Adults, however, need to face real life, and should think for themselves. To have faith in Jesus is to avoid the responsibility of personally making decisions. It hands some of the control of one’s life over to a priest or a preacher, which is why they promote this prattle.
Jesus, or whoever was writing in his name, was using an old ploy; promising the punters paradise. He never had to prove paradise existed, yet he could control people’s behaviour in the here and now by getting them to dream about heaven. Christian governments and Islamic terrorists have often taken a leaf out of Jesus’ book by promising soldiers they’ll up in paradise if they lose their lives.
Jesus was demanding uncritical belief, threatening anyone who doubted by refusing them heaven. Resorting to ultimatums meant he had a weak argument. These patronising proverbs prove that the Gospels were written for an uneducated audience, and what’s more, that the authors hoped to keep them ignorant.
Jesus also threatened people with hell. He couldn’t prove hell existed either, or that he had the power to send anyone there, yet he used the idea to control people’s behaviour. If the punter is credulous enough to be intimidated by unsubstantiated threats, the priest or preacher, using Jesus as his sock puppet, can wield his authority. This one works particularly well on children, who are easily frightened, and it becomes an integral part of a young Christian’s psyche. It’s psychological abuse.
Uncritical belief, otherwise known as faith or superstition, is integral to theology. Without faith, Christianity completely disintegrates, which is why the Gospels have Jesus praising its value. Yet faith is nothing more than a nice sounding word to describe a belief for which there’s no evidence. When there are facts, there’s no need for faith. Faith walks hand in hand with ignorance and credulity. In Christian parlance it’s portrayed as a virtue, whereas in reality it’s a travesty against our intellects.
If a spiel is repetitively promoted as “truth,” people can lose confidence in common sense. They become convinced the future is out of control, determined by the whim of an unpredictable God, so don’t direct their own destiny. That’s tragic. Jesus, the puppet philosopher, asks people to do something we should never, ever do: surrender our sense of reason.
European societies failed to progress, and in fact declined, throughout the dark ages, largely because Christian churches discouraged logical thought. Any theories or new ideas not focused on a church’s doctrine were seen as a threat to their power. It was only after the reformation, when church power declined, that any social, scientific or ethical progress was made. Yet churches are still holding some of us back, because they still market this faith idea. It should concern all of us if children are subjected to it. The promotion of faith as a virtue must stop.
There is a superior alternative to faith. We become happy, mature and well-balanced by being rational. Society too makes advances in science, education, and law by employing reasoned thought. The fact that science and reason are far superior to faith is a truth that churches are just going to have to get used to.