Hi and welcome back! It’s very nearly Christmas, that special, magical time of year when Christians celebrate the arrival on Earth of their god’s future human sacrifice. Oh wait. I mean, the birth of their savior. As you might guess, I don’t consider this myth nearly as admirable as the vast majority of Christians do. Today, let me show you why the birth of Jesus is anything but heartwarming.
The Most Special Birth Ever, Y’all.
One can’t really be Christian without thinking Jesus is special somehow — though the exact nature of that special-ness varies considerably. As one might expect, then, Christians assign great meaning to the birth of Jesus, which is often called his Incarnation. Interestingly, most of them assign much the same meaning to this myth. (In their religion’s earliest days, things weren’t so settled.)
Catholics think he did it “for us men and for our salvation.” In other words, their god became a human being to save all the other human beings. That seems to be a standard belief for Christians. They also think he did it so everyone could know their god loves everyone, to be “our model of holiness,” and to help us achieve our divine potential. Yes, that worked out grandly. We can all tell.
Evangelicals reduce most of the meaning of the Incarnation to a 3D chess game. Yes. Their god played this game with himself in order to save all of humanity from his own wrath, because he couldn’t possibly manage that trick in any other way.
Mainline Christians also tend to believe that the Incarnation happened to make humans’ salvation from Hell possible. I’ve heard many of these Christians taking the story way further than Catholics or evangelicals do to mean that Jesus really did conquer Hell: nobody is in danger of going there ever again, thanks to this gesture. I don’t regard this sidestepping as doing much better than the evangelicals. (I’m not much of a fan of liberal Christianity either.)
In addition, you’ll find lots and lots of theories in the Christ-o-Sphere about Jesus’ birth echoing Adam’s creation, and thus Jesus’ death — and humanity’s redemption — echoing Adam’s ignorant mistake and humanity’s downfall. Very little of this theorizing takes into account that the myths might echo each other because someone thought it’d be extra-cool to write Jesus’ story that way.
What amazes me is how few Christians really understand what an absolute mess they’re making of their own marketing by gushing so much over the Incarnation. It’s a horrifying story. It illustrates their god’s sheer incompetence and brutality more than anything else.
Even taken as a myth (as one must), the Incarnation reveals a godling who is not worth humanity’s love, much less anybody’s worship.
What Does a God Need With an Incarnation?
For example, I never did understand why the Christian god had to do anything. What could possibly compel an omnimax god?
If he really was omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and all the rest, then he certainly knew ahead of time what would happen to his homemade ant farm: Adam and Eve’s mistake (it was not a sin; before eating the fruit, they were not yet self-aware), then eons of grueling toil and lawlessness save for one tribe of Israelites who lucked into the correct patron god, and now the moment of Incarnation in that same lackluster, hopelessly-ignorant backwater country.
All this god had to do was design a cosmology that operated under sane, consensual, human-rights-oriented rules. Better yet, all he had to do was design his pet humans to operate more to his liking. It’s more than obvious that he’s never valued free will, after all, nor human rights. He sure didn’t ask Mary for her consent before impregnating her with himself!
If the Bible’s god had acted in keeping with the marketing about him in the Bible’s stories, we’d never have had any trouble. We certainly wouldn’t have the insane spectacle of an omnimax god playing catch-up with himself to finagle a victory against himself from the jaws of his own near-defeat.
It’s crazymaking, this notion of an all-powerful god who must figure out a way to trick himself into doing what he wants to do anyway.
(What is this law the Christian god must follow, this Deeper Magic that obligates him to undergo this farce in the first place? Perhaps Christians need to figure out where that resides so they can worship it — for it is obviously far more powerful than their god.)
Blood and Fire.
Instead of consistency, we get blood.
Rivers, streams, and oceans of blood.
We get sacrifice, which is the terror and pain of countless animals and humans sacrificed by the Israelites to their patron god, then burned with fire because this god apparently really likes the smell of charring flesh and sizzling hair.
And yes, these sacrifices always included humans. The Israelites certainly weren’t above sacrificing even their own children to curry their bloodthirsty god’s favor. In their turn, the earliest Christians greedily, giddily latched onto this absolute monstrosity of a custom. It’s not hard to imagine why. For some reason, humans have always thrummed with this love of sacrificing whatever living creatures come by their bloodthirsty hands.
And none of it is actually necessary, if Christians’ own marketing about their god is true. Their god could just as easily have forgiven them without all that blood and fire.
Bob Seidensticker mentions on his blog a few Bible verses that talk about this god’s ability to forgive without humans having to present him with burning flesh and oceans of blood. But that’s no fun.
The Virgin Birth That Stacked the Deck.
Another aspect of the Incarnation involves Jesus becoming human and living like a human. Christians profess such amazed awe at this move. But it, too, fails to impress — or even make sense.
Most Christians can’t bear the idea of a Jesus who isn’t super-duper-special somehow. Many believe he never once sinned in his entire life, though he certainly felt all those temptations that people feel. In addition, many Christians think Jesus possessed supernaturally-powerful intuition and magical powers of healing.
This belief in a god-turned-human, too, always struck me as odd. If Jesus needed to become human to get sacrificed as a human later on, wasn’t it kind of stacking the deck for him to have magical divine powers? If he had this special ability to withstand temptation, that didn’t really make him an official human, did it? He was just LARPing as a human, but he was just here temporarily. It reminds me of the song “Common People” by Pulp:
Oh, rent a flat above a shop
And cut your hair and get a job
And smoke some fags and play some pool
Pretend you never went to school
But still you’ll never get it right
‘Cause when you’re laid in bed at night
Watching roaches climb the wall
If you called your dad he could stop it all, yeah
In a very mythologically-real way, these lyrics apply to Jesus. Jesus wasn’t ever just a regular human being. Christians couldn’t handle such an idea. Look at what happened to Mark Driscoll for suggesting that Jesus experienced human bodily functions! Christians freaked out at him for it, which shows exactly how little they’re prepared for a truly human Jesus.
No, their Jesus had to be sooper speshul, just like all the other incarnated godmen running around that part of the world around that time. He only play-acted as a human. All the time, he had an ace up his sleeve — like the proper conjob the story’s inspiration probably was.
The Birth of the Build-A-Bear Godling.
Christians always build for their use whatever style of god suits them best. Most of them happen to really like the idea of worshiping a savage, barbaric god who demands blood sacrifices of them. Theirs just happens to sacrifice himself to himself. He also did it long ago and yet always and forever everywhere, so no Christians nowadays must get their own hands filthy.
Instead, Christians watch from the sidelines and cheer as their godling fathers himself so he can later offer himself to himself as a sacrifice that the Bible says nobody actually needs anyway because this god is in fact fully capable of simply forgiving people.
So yes, tomorrow Christians celebrate the birth of their Savior. They contemplate what will inevitably become of his life — and how his father/himself/whatever designed his birth to lead to his brutal, bloody death for Big Important Jesus Reasons.
Looking at this mess, I’m just so, so glad that I’m no longer a Christian. Now that I’m deconverted, I no longer must juggle together all these contradictions, nor try to make sense of centuries of colliding opinions and interpretations.
Now I can look at the story of the Birth of Jesus and see it for the absolutely-nonsensical mess that it really is. I can’t even begin to tell y’all what a relief that is.
NEXT UP: An off-topic day! See you tomorrow! Enjoy the day, however you spend it! Then, I want to revisit the actual myths of the Nativity. It’s been a long time since we went sightseeing together. See you soon!
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