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Judge God

One frequent argument I hear from Christians is what I call the “Judge God Argument.” Here, Christians tell me a story about a teen that is speeding, driving drunk, or some other illegal act that teenagers might commit. In this story, we are the teen and after being caught by the police we are brought before the Judge. The Judge, bound by the law and by his need for Justice (The Judge always seems to be a man because… well Christianity is a very male chauvinistic religion) delivers the verdict of “guilty.” As such, he sentences the boy to a fine. Here is the catch. The Judge is the boy’s father and so after he has pronounced the sentence, he stands up and reaches into his wallet and pays the boy’s fine as a loving parent.

So here we have it. The Judge plays both roles and is able to wear both hats separately. As Judge, he tries the case according to the law and sentences the offender. As a loving parent he pays the price for his son’s crime. This is the analogy Christians sometimes use concerning the role of God. As a perfect being with perfect morality Judge God must be strict with the law and pronounce that all human beings are evil sinners and sentence us all to eternal torture in Hell. But as our loving father, God then sent his only begotten son to die for our sins (the equivalent to paying our fine).

It makes perfect sense, right? I mean God wouldn’t be much of a Judge if he let us off the hook just because we are his loved creations, right? God must be perfect in his judgment and that mean that he must sentence us for our sins. That is why he created Hell. But God doesn’t want us to go to Hell that is why he paid our fine in the form of Jesus.

The thing is that God’s Justice system is a little arbitrary. Have you read your Ten Commandments lately? Thou shall keep the Sabbath Holy? Is it really a crime to work on Saturday? Really? And then there are all the other laws that God as made up (according to the Bible) most of which seem completely arbitrary and equally ridiculous to the Commandment about the Sabbath Day. And even if we were able to keep all of those ridiculous laws dealing with everything from beard trimming to dietary habits, we would still be evil sinners in the eyes of Judge God because of “Original Sin.” That is God’s trump card to insure that we are all guilty no matter what.

But aside from God’s Kangaroo Court of ridiculous laws, we also have the “Holy Penal System.” There is only one punishment for every crime, eternal torture! Did you bare false witness when a lady asked you if she looked fat in that dress she was trying on? Eternal Torture! No, you actually told her she looked fat? Well, Eternal Torture anyway, because Adam at an apple. And once you are found guilty and sentenced to eternal Hell, how long before you are up for parole? Never! There is no parole or reprieve? Eternal Torture!

How could it be possible that our very flawed American Justice System is actually fairer and more just than God’s perfect Justice System? It seems to me that God isn’t a very good Judge at all. And as a Juror and Executor, he isn’t doing so hot either. Clearly an analysis of Divine Justice wasn’t what the Christian had in mind when he or she attempted to use the “Judge God Argument.” It seems that it is rather easy to turn this argument around and instead of God being the Judge it has become us judging God and he looks plenty guilty to me.

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  • http://www.myspace.com/misstea43 Miss Tea

    You need to hook up with some Christians who are a little more modern in their thinking. It’s been a long time since educated Christians believed this story literally.

    Just to start with, since most Christians – or at least the liberal Christian denominations – now believe in evolution (some refinements may be made some years from now, but basically something like this) instead of the Genesis myth; the whole idea of “the fall” no longer makes sense.

    I can’t blame you, however, for not seeing what so many of us believe. So many of the church leaders are — anachronistic…. It was in December of 1991 that the Vatican finally admitted that Galileo was correct. This was about 40 years after space travel had begun. And photographs had been taken from space….

    The idea of a perfect creation, the fall into sin, the divine rescue by Jesus and the restoration to our status of perfection through faith in Jesus Christ have all been rethought by many. Including professors in Ivy League universities. If we evolved from single cells into complex self-conscious creatures that we are, then there never has been perfection from which to fall, no fall into sin, no need for a divine rescue and no capacity to be restored to something we never have been. The teachings of the professors threatens many church leaders deeply! “Fallen sinners!” “Jesus died for your sins!” don’t make sense any more. We will have to recognize that we are not people who need to be rescued from a fall that never happened, but people who have not yet achieved the status of being fully human. Jesus is to empower us to be fully human; he cannot rescue us from sin.

    • Mr. X

      I see so much that’s confusing and contradictory in your comment, that I have trouble deciding where to begin. I mean, no offense, that’s just my opinion, and all…

      But, for starters – please define “fully human.” Or at least, as many aspects of this concept that you feel able to describe. What does it entail? When does it come to pass? How?

      If there are any aspects of being “fully human” that you’re not sure about (and I have a feeling there will be), please be specific about what those are, too.

      • Crimson Baboon

        Hell, I just want her to define “Educated Christians” Keep in mind this is a religion that was spwned @ the same time and by the same people who thought the world was flat, the sun revolved around the earth, you could cure disease by bleeding people out, constellations were actual beings… So, what exactly is an educated Christian? I think it is an oxy-moron.

      • http://www.myspace.com/misstea43 Miss Tea

        I’m not offended. I see that you don’t understand. I will try to help you.

        Do you understand what evolution is? The definition may help. It is “a process of formation or growth; development.” It is “a process of gradual, peaceful, progressive change or development, as in social or economic structure or institutions.”

        Progressive change. Do you feel we have reached our highest level of development? Do you believe we have developed to our highest potential?

        This is what I mean by “more fully human.” You should be able to see that, since we are talking about evolution. I thought that was apparent. Are we not?

        This is not a new concept. Abraham Maslow talked about “self-esteem” and “self-actualization,” for example. Do you know what that is? There are thousands who have written about human potential, goals. Including many Christians! What we might become. I don’t have time to discuss each one. But just take Maslow, since I mentioned him. It is about confidence, respect for others and respect by others, attaining the highest level of achievement we can. Ethics, morality, lack of prejudice….

        To say the goal of the Christian life is to rescue us from the bondage of sin makes no sense. But unless you believe that humankind has attained its highest level of development, that there is no longer prejudice but mutual respect, no longer close-mindedness to points of view other than our own — we still have a goal. That is to evolve, expand into a deeper sense of what it means to be “more fully human.”

        You might find, that if you read the work of educated, liberal Christians that you have more in common with them than you think. You appear to be acquainted only with Christians who have a more primitive, literal understanding of the Bible. There are many Christians who have found long, long ago that the theistic understanding of God has become unbelievable.

        No disrespect is intended and I’d like to respond to more responses below, but I am very busy and I don’t have the time.

        Peace be with you.

    • admin

      Miss Tea, I guess I have to ask this, but where in the Bible does it talk about being “fully human?” Where does the Bible claim that the Genesis story is a myth or metaphor? Is there a Third Testament that you and the Ivy League Professors are hiding from the rest of Humanity. While you are of course welcome to believe whatever you like Miss Tea, don’t try to pass off those beliefs as Biblical or as being mainstream Christian. There was a poll done in December by Harris Interactive which showed exactly how many people believe in wacky things. 62% of Americans believe in Hell. And then there was the Survey that was announced just a few weeks ago by ARIS which showed that 34% of Americans claim to be “Born Again” or “Evangelical.” And as for Christians believing in evolution, 47% of all Americans believe in evolution and that includes the 16% of atheists. So lets do a little math… carry the 1, oh look, roughly 31% of Christians believe in evolution in America. How sad. :-(

    • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

      “If we evolved from single cells into complex self-conscious creatures that we are, then there never has been perfection from which to fall, no fall into sin, no need for a divine rescue and no capacity to be restored to something we never have been.”

      Exactly.

  • http://dehnmerrill.com Dehn

    Wow. Miss Tea, you really need to take a long look at the way you think.

    The bible is utter rubbish and so are the views it has spawned. ALL of them. Do you think that your reference to Professors in Ivy League Universities makes your views somehow more legitimate? Furnish them. Christianity is worthless as a tool and as a way of life. It teaches nothing but subservience to MEN. Which it should, as that was the intent all through the 2000 years it took for it to get where it is now……NOTHING in the bible is true, none of it has stood the test of time without EDITS from people like you and your “modern christians”…..and really, do you want to discuss the vatican? Yea, I didn’t capitalize, as christian and vatican are naught but nouns in my book, and not by far are they proper….. catholicism is as genocidal a belief structure as exists in our world today.

    Eh, starting to sound like a troll……sorry X. Nothing irritates me more than these weak minded people that decide they know where religion went wrong, and are gonna lead us to the “real” light.

    Seriously, “jesus is to empower us to be fully human”, wtf does that mean? Bullshit rhetoric and dogma don’t make you sound full of insight, they make you look like a sheep with no flock.

    • Mr. X

      “starting to sound like a troll……sorry X.”

      Were you addressing me?

      It’s alright…I’m just generally disappointed that so many commented before she responded to my question. I was really, really, REALLY curious about what she was going to say!

      • Dehn

        Just got back around here and saw the reply. Sorry about that, you’re right of course, I definitely handled that wrong, and discouraged further responses.

        My bad.

  • Michelle

    Amen!

  • http://www.myspace.com/andrewtheatheist AndrewtheAtheist

    This question bothered me greatly when I was christian, “What sin committed on the mortal plane could rationally merit eternal torture? I hear stories of peoplw who forgive, or profess to forgive, people who have harmed them gravely. Murderers, rapists, and molesters all find forgiveness from their victims, and we execute so few of them. How can humans be more fogiving than god? How can humans have a nore logical justice system than god?”

    When I asked this question of a Catholic priest, he explained the layers of hell and more layers of purgatory. I asked what difference the layers of hell had, if they were all still eternal punishment. He said some hurt less. I found the conversation lacking.

  • Barry

    Yes, but you can be completely forgiven if you confess, and if you do some kind of verbal or perhaps light and very brief community service penance. Try THAT in a court of man’s law. I am not one to defend religion, and the whole sin, forgiveness, eternal torture matrix iS ridiculous, but, on this one, ya gotta give them SOME leeway, it seems to me.

    • admin

      Well Barry, if I understand it correctly, you can only ask for forgiveness before you stand before Judge God. After you are brought before Judge God, no level of verbal confession will save your eternal soul. Judge God will have no mercy on you and there is no parole… every! So confess your sins today because tomorrow you may die and be sentenced to Eternal Torture!

      In other words Barry, Our Justice System here in America is still better than Judge God’s perfect system. But Judge God shouldn’t worry about it, because our justice system is more forgiving than his. He may plead to the court for leanness and we believe that he is innocent until proven guilty, so he will have a fair trial too.
      -Staks

  • ProgRockGirl

    The judge who sentences the kid and then pays for it? That’s some irresponsible parenting! The kid will just think his dad will bail him out the next time!

  • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

    It always confuses me that you seriously think humans, simply because we are capable of good, aren’t inherently “evil” or “bad”. I really don’t get it.

    Yes, I know i know we don’t have slaves any more and we arn’t running around in arena’s killing each other….however we do kill millions of unborn babies a year….we send troops to Iraq to “liberate” their people (ahuh…cause oil has nothing to do with it) after 911 which Iraq had nothing to do with. Greed and selfishness is written everywhere. The HEART of man has not changed. Enron….we all struggle with the same things…some just happen to be in positions of power where greed and selfishness get them more attention.

    Take me for example. I work in a giant distribution center warehouse. I drive around on a electric jack and i’m an “order selector” or “puller” as we call it. I pull cases for Brook shires grocery company….now..i get ridiculously thirsty if i forget water. There is ALOT of stuff…tons of stuff gets stolen everyday….millions a year. I might be tempted to grab some water, no one will see, tha place is way to be. However, if i’m a huge corporate owner, and i’ve been stealing things my whole life cause i thought i wouldn’t get caught…the decision to do something like that again is all to easy.

    We are depraved. It’s just a fact. I don’t need the Bible to tell me that.

    • admin

      Do you think that the fat cat executive thinks to himself, “I am an evil guy and can’t wait to steal and make my employee’s lives miserable?” I used to work in a Machine/Weld Shop before I got laid off and I know just how shitty that kind of work can be. We used to bitch about management and their greed all the time. But I also used to talk to people in management and they really thought that they deserved to be paid more and that what they were doing was right. They weren’t the evil greedy people we thought they were. They were no greedier than any of the workers down in the shops. They were just doing what they thought was right. The Enron execs. probably didn’t think they were evil either. They probably thought that they deserved the money they stole or that they could steal the money and make back much more money with it. There are lots of reasons why they did what they did. While they still deserve to go to prison for what they have done, I don’t think they are evil people and you have yet to prove that they are. In our flawed American justice system, we are innocent until proven guilty, so prove these people are inherently evil and that everything they do is immoral. I bet some of those people had families that they loved and children they wanted to put into college. That doesn’t sound like an evil person to me. I don’t even think Hitler was evil and I’m a Jew.
      -Staks

      • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

        “They weren’t the evil greedy people we thought they were. They were no greedier than any of the workers down in the shops.”

        Exactly!! We are all the same lol….all of these things that you talked about…greed…and junk it’s all so natural…”original sin” or whatever the heck you wanna call it….we are inclined to do that which is wrong to better ourselves.

        As I said, I don’t need the Bible to tell me that humans are not genuinely good.

    • http://www.myspace.com/andrewtheatheist AndrewtheAtheist

      It always confuses me that you seriously think that humans, simply because we are capable of evil, aren’t inherently good.

      We are not depraved. We need the Bible to think we are.

      • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

        Ooooh we are genuinely good. Thats why we have policeman, and federal agencies and prisons….even if a small percentage of people go to jail or are convicted…they are simply acting out inner human selfish desires…that we ALL struggle with. Seriously Andrew….I don’t get it! HOW are we genuinely good? Do you trust other people with your children? Why not?! We’re all good right? Cmon man….it’s like a self refuting argument…i mean i get confused even arguing this point.

        • http://www.myspace.com/andrewtheatheist AndrewtheAtheist

          Oooh we are genuinely evil. That’s why we have social workers, and public education and community centers. Even if a small population volunteer or contribute in some way, they are acting on the inner desirre to do good, that ALL people feel. Seriously, Matt..Don’t you get it? How are we genuinely evil? Would you give $10 to a girl who couldn’t make her rent? Why? We’re all evil, right? C’mon man.. This IS a self-refuting argument..I mean I get deja vu arguing this point.

          • http://myspace.com/blackhawk089 Matt

            Sigh….you still don’t get it. So, you think those social workers don’t themselves struggle with the SAME issues that they help other people get over? Why don’t you trust others with your kids though? Any random person?….I didn’t say genuinely evil..i said depraved….difference.

            • http://www.myspace.com/andrewtheatheist AndrewtheAtheist

              Perhaps I’m not being clear. If a person has urges to do good AND urges to do evil, are they inherently good or evil? Isn’t that determined by how they respond to those urges, not whether or not they are present? How would you recognize a good person who had no evil urges? Without them, they are but a robot, doing only what is programed.

              My point is reversing your words to you is to show you that good and evil are relative and intermixed. So to say we are inherently evil is to say we are also inherently good. But I chose to say we are neither inherently good or evil, and it is the same.

              But the Bible says we are depraved; that we have fallen. So to believe we are fallen, we need the bible. Without it, we are as good or evil as we determine ourselves to be, or not.