But what they did put up is ten times more ridiculous. Any guesses?
It wasn't the apple on the tree, but the pair beneath.
Okay, so we'll ignore the fact that the bible only says "fruit" (and not the kind that does your hair...), not "apple," and we'll even bypass the use of word-play in an effort to appear witty, as it were.
Where we will go is an old path, a traveled path, a clearly marked nature trail, as it were. And although it is certainly the less traveled (at least in an America where 90% of the population claims a belief in a god...), I sometimes I wish I had enough money to rent every billboard along every highway across the entire United States that says:
Yes, this quote is brought to you by one of the most quotable anti-god persona's to ever grace the earth with his presence (CLUE: Friedrich Nietzsche), but, being the fact that the man is a tad bit over-quoted and a teensy bit too easy and logical for a fundie to decode, let me speak plainly: Assuming that sky daddy is up there, created everything, and set this whole thing called "human life" in motion, why is it assumed that we are the problem?
"Is man one of God's blunders? Or is God one of man's blunders?"
Any fundie will tell you: We have a sin nature, we are wrong, we need saved and rescued from ourselves. Aside from the obvious narcissistic tendencies that run throughout religions worldwide, I ask: Why is god getting a free pass? A "get out of jail free" card, if you will?
Rich has a birthday coming up (Hello, 36!), and, as always, his mom will make him a chocolate pudding pie. If for some reason that pie were to burn, taste like utter shit, or even turn out vanilla, despite the obvious package advertising that claims to be chocolate, will his mom blame the oven? The pie dough? The Jell-O corporation? (Well, maybe if it's vanilla...)
No, she will think to herself, "I screwed up." She will admit that she did something wrong somewhere along the way, and either grin and bear it (eat the pie regardless), or chuck it out into the garbage.
She will not set up a plan by which this pie, though through no fault of its own isn't what she wanted it to be, may regain her good graces by:
- jumping through hoops;
- by believing that it's its own fault that she added too much salt and needs to believe that she had good intentions;
- attending a pie orgy of the soul every Sunday;
- try to change it's general properties through meditation and prayer.
Now you, dear reader, are saying: "Of course she won't; it's a pie. Hence, a non-conscious entity which hasn't the power to change itself. Duh!"
But isn't this the argument we hear from fundies all the time? "You can't change, but God can change you"; "Not through yourself, as you are a sinful being; only through Jesus' blood"; or, perhaps one of the most oft heard, "You need Jesus because only he can change your heart." (I'm wondering how often people on the heart-transplant list hear this?)
But you get the message, right: You have the problem, not god. You screwed up, not god.
But we have to ask also: What is it that is so bad about us? What is it that we need "saved" from? Do we screw things up sometimes? Yes. Do we make mistakes with sometimes disastrous results? Yes. Do most of us generally try to do the right thing in regards to ourselves, our families, friends, and society as a whole? Yes. And do those plans always turn out for the good? Not always, no. But does that mean we need the blood of a deity?
And--hold that thought--when did this need for god's blood enter the picture? Lemme see if I remember this right: God decided we needed his kid to die when Eve ate a piece of fruit that would give her knowledge. (Always a bad thing when trying to control someone else...) God forbid (and he did!) Eve know a little bit of something about her world, right?
And--why was "knowledge" so bad?
We still haven't gotten a satisfactory answer to that question. Maybe if god weren't so busy keeping his eye on the sparrow, he might figure out that what he created isn't half bad--isn't mostly bad--and this whole "fear mongering" style of threatening us with a hell that he created isn't really necessary--in fact, it's just downright contradictory and stupid.
Of course, one legend tells the story of how once sky god became so pissed at all his creation (Okay, well, mostly mankind...), that he decided to drown everything--monkeys, caterpillars, dogs, cats, sheep, and even the emperor penguin--just so he could have a "fresh start." He saved the "cream of the crop" (READ: Noah and Gang...), turned on the faucet, and then let bygones be bygones. Turned off the water, let everyone out of the boat, and said "I'll never do that again."
Not only should this have been a great big clue into the short-minded thought processes of the supposed sky god, he failed to get to the root of the problem as it is perceived by many fundies today: Sin nature, that ephemeral, intangible, psychosomatic concept of self-worthlessness coupled with the pride of being so worthless and undeserving. A better idea would have been to magically restore our pre-sin nature and forget about planting the so-called "tree of knowledge" anywhere on the planet! Or while the earth was so flooded, he could have played with the DNA of Noah and Gang, eradicating the whole leaning towards this "sin" thing. But what did sky god do?
He killed the petunias, the lady bugs, the termites, and the Dodo's in an attempt to "teach man a lesson." (Should I go there? Oh, what the hell, why not?) Doesn't it just want to make you scream to the heavens, "Hello!? What the hell were you thinking, you dip-shit!!" God allegedly flooding the earth in an attempt to somehow eradicate "sin" is a lot like setting the house on fire because you haven't vacuumed in a while. It misses the point by a long shot, and accomplishes nothing except for a short-lived feeling of having accomplished something right before reality crashes through...
Oh, but that's right: "His ways are higher than ours, his thoughts above ours." Aside from being a load of crap (it is the default answer whenever you've backed a fundie into a logical, reasonable corner of reality...), one would think that a supreme being with such "high thoughts" and "pure ways" could think of 600 better ways of ridding the world from sin than:
- flooding the hell out of it;
- killing your kid for it;
- blaming the pie for it.
Of course, today we have much better ways of making a pie than the wandering desert Hebrews of the day did...
I'm just hoping people have taken note...
And hope most of them realize we have much better ways of dealing with people, with each other, than their imaginary sky god did two to four thousand years ago...
And while that may not sound "witty" and "zingy" enough for an outdoor billboard, it will certainly go a lot longer, and work a lot better, than continuing to blame ourselves for something we haven't done, didn't do, and doesn't exist in an effort to appease old legends and fairy tales... I mean, how many of you still cook bull thighs over fire, pour wine over it, and then wash your cup in sulfur just to appease Zeus?
That's what I thought...
But let's not blame god or Zeus for that, right?
We should have been born knowing better...