God, Free Will And Taxes : How Would You Respond ?

When I was looking for material for reflection for this coming Sunday's Scriptures and Gospel  I came across a series of three short videos produced by an atheist on the theme of God, free will and taxes. 

The Gospel parable is pretty well known and involves Jesus telling his questioners about rendering to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's.  

The Scripture passage is here in case you want to read it in full

The videos are well done and so I'm putting out two of them here as a devil's advocate type of thing - because they merit a response and I would welcome comments and some help in providing answers to them.

It also links well to something the Pope Benedict  said  during the Mass on the last day of his German visit  when he issued this unusual and provocative message " it is better to be a searching agnostic than a fake believer. "

Benedict XVI praised the "agnostics who cannot find peace due to their questions about God, people who suffer because of our sins and are desirous of a pure heart."

Pope Benedict said they are "closer to the Kingdom of God than "routine" believers who only see the apparatus of the Church without their hearts being touched by faith."

Instinctively I know that the videos portray a vengeful and controlling God and this is not the God most of us who call ourselves Christians believe in and yet the producer of these videos already knows that this will be my response so where do we go from here ??? 

Is there even an answer at all ???

This is the full text that accompanies the second video taken from You Tube: 

"The script for the taxman in this video is made up of Christian responses to my first "Free Will" video, in which I made the point that the "choice" that Jesus apparently gives us is woefully unfair, loaded, and far from "free". Basically I copy/pasted their arguments from the comments page, adapted them to a new scenario, the "choice" to pay taxes, to see if they stand up to scrutiny in a different context. You can be the judge of how they fare.
Our tax-payer friend here almost falls for it... how about you?"

So here's one of the videos- it is about 4 mins duration.

and in this one the commentary/arguments advanced  from the person who produced it becomes even more complex- here they are below :

"Here is the third and final installment in what turned out to be the Free Will series!
Perhaps by now you've heard it all before. The first two installments generated debates that each led to the next one being written, in order to demonstrate the illogical nature of the arguments I kept getting.

Most argumentative responses focused on words. Free and choice were bounced back and forth again and again, from dictionary to dictionary It seems that apologists for the Bible are happy to accept a choice that is almost identical to blackmail, as long as it can still bear the label choice, which, yes, blackmail does too, I guess.  

The other main response Ive gotten is the charge that I'm angry at Yahweh for giving us such a loaded, coercive choice. Ahh no, I don't believe in Yahweh, I don't believe Yahweh has ever done anything, so I'm not angry at him. Do you deny Santa because you're angry at him for not giving you presents at Christmas any more?

So, this final part is intended to acknowledge that yes, in fact, blackmail, coercion, threats, and extortion ARE categories of choice. It is focused on what KIND of choice one might expect from an infinitely capable, infinitely loving, and infinitely wise deity. If nothing else, I hope it demonstrates that the free choice that Christians praise Yahweh for is nowhere near as free or loving as what a perfect being could offer. Its more like that free choice (YES, OK, it IS a choice!!!) given by the store robber pointing the gun at the guy behind the counter and demanding that he hand over the cash. Therefore, if we follow logic (ahem) we come to the predicament of acknowledging that Yahweh's choice doesn't measure up to anything LIKE being worthy of being credited to the divine, in fact it fails dismally, and therefore, the whole damn thing is a bunch of bullshit.

Do you find this video offensive? Well, I'm offended that throughout history, and even still today, people have been, and are being, paralysed with fear of being condemned to an imaginary torture chamber after death- indoctrinated from childhood that they need to grovel and beg for mercy, and that nothing they can humanly do can save them from endless pain and suffering.

I'm offended that people I know, love and respect have had these bullshit ideas put into their heads, and had it influence their choices ALL their lives, constantly weighing their thoughts and actions against the need to please the imaginary slave master who alone can rescue them from the imaginary torture that he himself threatens to dole out.

An honorary mention will go to the first person to make a comment claiming that I am angry at God.
Another honorary mention will go to the first person to make a comment saying that I'm saying there's no choice in Yahweh's arrangement when in fact, in a dictionary sense, there actually is.

And a third honorary mention will go to the first person to try to correct my position by quoting a merciful-sounding bible verse, whilst ignoring all the bloodthirsty, torture filled ones about Jesus judging us and sending us to hell."

Here's the next video ...................

Any thoughts and comments on these anyone  ????

No comments: