Chapter Ten: Our Legacy: “The Facts of Life”
When people are faced with insurmountable evidence against their beliefs, they often say, “I walk by faith,” as if that takes away any obligation to reason or provide evidence for their beliefs. Blind faith seems to be considered a virtue. As Carl S. wrote: “We frequently find social stigma attached to someone who is ‘lacking in faith,’ as if believing in anything, however outrageous, is acceptable if it is sincerely believed in. What’s so special about that?” He continued to say that if we don’t have faith maybe the reason is that we can’t force ourselves to trust without evidence and our lack of faith is therefore the “positive, mature attitude to maintain.”
Let’s imagine we never heard of angry Yahweh or lowly Jesus. We know nothing of a talking snake, original sin, or a god’s mating with a human then killing his son because he couldn’t stand the humans he made and he just had to take his vengeance on someone. We’re reading the Bible for the first time. Can we believe this book full of magic and wizardry like other fables, legends, and fairy tales that we know to be false? Should we believe it? If my crazy neighbor Noah tells me God is going to pour down water to drown the world and I therefore need to get into his boat, or my fanatical cousin Lot rants about how God is going to rain down fire and brimstone so I need to get out of the city, why in the name of sanity would I believe either of them? Why should I be expected by a rational god to believe them? I hope my readers will be honest and admit that they wouldn’t believe their cousin or neighbor any more than I would believe mine and that such non-belief is rational and wise! When I was little my two oldest sisters told my next oldest sister and me that if we made horses out of corn stalks and corn silk and put them in Mommy’s sewing machine drawer overnight, when we woke up they would be real, live horses. We believed our sisters because we were innocent and gullible and had tons of faith. But we shouldn’t have! And nobody should be rewarded for being ignorant enough to accept nonsense just because another human being says it did or will happen.
We must look at the facts (as knowledge surpasses faith); the facts do not justify faith in the Judaeo-Christian gods. At the time the Christ myth came into being, people were superstitious. (Even the New Testament declares that [Acts 17:22].) They were already accustomed to honoring fake gods and goddesses. Naturally one more wasn’t a problem for them. But it should be for us.
Despite all that has been said here, we can surely learn from the myths of the Bible (as we can and do from all myths—that is their purpose). Eckhart Tolle wrote, “The man on the cross . . . is every man and every woman.” He further noted that “Christ can be seen as the archetypal human, embodying both the pain and the possibility of transcendence.” Bill Darlison put it this way:
“The person on the cross is you. It is I. It is Everyman, and Everywoman. Crucifixion is not just an archaic and barbaric punishment for a few unfortunate lawbreakers; it is a condition of life. Crucifixion is the perfect metaphor for the human situation because, unlike most types of execution, it delivers a slow, lingering, painful death. What’s more, it takes place for all of us on Golgotha, Calvary, ‘the place of the skull’ (Golgotha is Aramaic for ‘skull’, Calvary is ‘skull’ in Latin) which is itself an image of life stripped down to its skeletal essentials. We are all poised in pain on the cross of life. None escapes, and all attempts to insulate ourselves from life’s pains are fruitless. . . The message of Easter is not that once upon a time a single individual’s death paid the price of sin and he was rewarded by having his corpse reanimated. . . The story of the literal crucifixion and literal resurrection from physical death of a single human being is biologically impossible, historically implausible, and, in the way that it is often presented, it is morally questionable. But the story of our own resurrection from spiritual death while we are still alive is the most important and liberating message we will ever hear.”
Not only is the crucifixion/resurrection the story of our lives; in fact, it’s the sequence of each day. We wake up with a clean slate to greet the morning sun; we struggle to make it through the day; then we lie down at night, either in peace or torture based on what happened that day (or, at least, how we dealt with the day’s happenings); either way, we close our eyes in our “little death” of sleep. Arthur Schopenhauer said, “Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death.” John A. Sanford wrote: “The world-creating Logos could be seen in the movements of the heavenly bodies, in the majesty of the skies, in the great ocean with its abundance of life . . . in the tiniest unit of life.” The story is written in the sky, in the seasons, in the womb, and in the stages of growth/aging of each individual (Gen. 1:14; Ps. 19:1-6, 84:11; Mal. 4:2; Rom. 1:20; Rev. 22:16). We come into the world naked and unashamed, we play our part, we fall into a deep sleep, and we return innocently to our source (even if it is only as dust in the wind). We have our spring, summer, fall, and winter. And, again, we must work in the spring and summer (day/youth/strength) so that when our fall (evening/old age/weakness) comes, we can harvest and eat; if not, we will either freeze to death, being unclothed, or we will die of starvation in our winter—we will be naked and hungry (we will go down in shame). As the Psalmist said, we labor in sorrow for seventy years and then are cut off and fly away (Ps. 90:10). We live our seventy weeks, or our seventy years, with our seventy family members, bearing whatever cross is ours, and then we face our 70 CE (Ex.1:5, Dan. 9:24). Just as with the biblical characters Adam and Jesus, the only way to “return to God” is to die. This process is repeated throughout the biblical texts in various ways. It is the cycle of life.
So, even if we conclude that the Bible, like all ancient scriptures, was written by men, that doesn’t mean it offers nothing beneficial. Surely we are all a part of the energy, force, intellect, or whatever exists that holds us all together. No, I don’t believe that power is a personal, male, mind-reading, bloodthirsty, vengeful god who destroys “the blameless and the wicked” (Job 9:22). Still, both the blameless and the wicked do die! Some creative force brought us all into being, some force will take us out, and we are indeed unified with the universe. That, we can agree on. Maybe what we call God is simply consciousness, or “the life force”; thus it truly is in everything and everybody, as the Bible (and the Egyptian god Aten) says (Acts 17:28, Col. 1:16-20).
Tina Rae Collins
My goal is to share my book The Judaeo-Christian Myth one article at a time. If you find these articles interesting or you don’t think I’ll reach my goal (always a possibility, I suppose), and/or you just can’t wait, you can purchase the book by clicking on the picture above or the title in this paragraph. Thanks for reading!
 Carl S. “Everyone Is Lacking In Faith.”  Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (New York: Penguin Group, 2005), 102.  Tolle, 144.  Bill Darlison, “Two Thieves,” Roads for Traveling Souls, billdarlison.blogspot.com, 18 Apr. 2014, web, 7 May 2015.  George R. R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons (HBO Tie-in Edition): A Song of Ice and Fire: Book Five: A Novel (New York: Bantam Books, 2015), 450.  Arthur Schopenhauer, “Arthur Schopenhauer Quotes,” brainyquotes.com, n.d., web, 10 Apr. 2015.  John A. Sanford, Mystical Christianity: A Psychological Commentary on the Gospel of John (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company, 1994), 23.  Eben Alexander, MD, Proof of Heaven: A Neurosurgeon’s Journey into the Afterlife (New York: Simon & Schuster, Inc., 2012), 156.