Many ages ago, well, several years anyway, when this ancient…what the hell, it was back in the 1980’s & ‘90’s…I was fairly knowledge about the collection of writings from a myriad of authors, redactors, editors, copyists, theologians, priests, ministers, rabbis, interpolators, and other liars, forgers, imposters, and fraudsters known as the Holy Bible, which is a large part of what made me an atheist.
However, once I woke up to the undeniability of the indefensibility of the superstition and fiction of its myths and fairy tales, I promptly said to my self, “Ok, now that you know all this shit in your head is shit, you can flush your mind and forget all this shit.” To which my self replied, “Well, shit, I’ll do that, I don’t give a shit anymore.” Forsaking my former fancy which formed and fortified my faith in the false, I forthwith forged ahead into fugue.
A couple of decades later, give or take ten years, I found myself floundering and flailing in a sea of fortune, or should I say ill-fortune, that left me without a home. Face-to-face with this foul footing, I took up residence in a rescue mission, where ever since I’ve been force-fed a feast of fantasy and fabrication. Also, while enduring the unbearable assault on my intellect and insufferable insult to my intelligence through sermon after harangue after exhortation night after night after night, I’ve become reacquainted with holy writ. It’s made me a better atheist, and thank God for that.
Had I not found myself in this villainous vexation, I never would have rediscovered and/or uncovered such gems as 1 Corinthians 15. That’s Chapter 15 to my fellow infidel friends unfamiliar with the fashion of such figures. I fell fully in love with this lovely locality for it strikes down so many of the fundies’ (for fundamentalists’) favorite pillars of presumption.
I thought about copying the whole passage here, but the damn thing is fifty-eight verses long, so forget that. I’ll just randomly go through them as they come to mind, the treasured features of fantasy, that is. And understand, I’m not speaking from an empirical, rational point-of-view but from that of a believer or at least of someone who takes this silliness seriously.
1 Cor. 15:24-26 – Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
First, and most glaringly obvious from the text, is their conception of the afterlife as beginning immediately after death. For Paul and the rest of the apostolic church, the dead lay dead in their graves until the great resurrection after Christ’s second coming, and even then only after he had accomplished everything else and defeated every other enemy.
Second, is their treasured belief in the Rapture. It is struck down by the same verses involved above. If there is no general resurrection until all other things are fulfilled, you can’t very well have a Rapture of believers before a Great Tribulation.
1 Cor. 15:29 – Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?
Third, is the idea that humans only have until their deaths to get saved. If one can be baptized vicariously after death, then it isn’t too late to “get saved and born again” after dying.
Fourth, is the idea that one can be “saved and born again” without being baptized. See the above verse for that.
1 Cor. 15:28 – And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.
Fifth, is the doctrine of the Trinity and of the Son as equal to the Father.
Recent re-reading of the Revelation of St. John the Divine has likewise been a revelation. The fundies know zip about Roman law and zero about 1st century Judaism. Their mistaken assumptions about what is clearly not a prophecy but an allegorical tale are too numerous to deal with here. So I’ll settle for shooting down just two or three of them.
There is no Rapture in Revelation before the Great Tribulation. Darby made all that up.
Rev. 19:17-18 – And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great.
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb clearly refers not to long banquet tables for the “saved and born again” but to the feast for ravens, crows, and other carrion birds after the great battle at the end of the Great Tribulation.
Rev. 20:4-5 – And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
The first resurrection mentioned after the marriage supper is for those martyred during the Great Tribulation who resisted the beast and the false prophet. Presumably the other martyrs throughout history also got a pass and don’t have to lie around dead until after the Millennium Reign when the second resurrection will take place.
Rev. 20:11-15 – And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
The Great White Throne Judgment with which Puritan preachers perilously panic their forlorn flocks is for all people, not just those who are not “saved and born again”, and everyone will be judged according to their works, not whether or not they kissed the Son of God’s divine ass.
In all the Synoptic Gospels, placed in the story as one of Christ’s major encounters during the week following his triumphant entry on (the first) Palm Sunday, the Sadducees pose a question to Jesus about resurrection, in which they did not believe and apparently he did (Matt 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-38).
Luke 20:34b-36 – The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage: But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
So, the upshot of the whole thing was that Jesus told them none of the relationships on earth are going to exist in heaven and the afterlife. That the afterlife is unlike anything they expect.
While it should be obvious that this strikes down the idea cherished by fundies that we will be with our families in heaven, that those who died before us are waiting and we will wait for those coming after, what the Synoptics have Jesus say in these passages clearly negates that.
This saying also strikes down another fundie claim about the afterlife, that the angels will be below the resurrected humans. Even Jesus says they will be no more than equal.
Also, referring back again to 1 Cor. 15, no one’s going to be in heaven until all humanity is raised from the dead after everything else is accomplished.
In short, core beliefs of Christians, particularly those of the fundamentalist variety, no matter how widely held, are not valid even by their own sacred texts. Not without an Olympic amount of contortionist rationalization and mental gymnastics can their beliefs be justified by the Bible.