(Pertaining to Christianity and Catholicism.)
Has anyone ever received a satisfactory answer (from a believer) of how Hell and a Benevolent God can be compatible? The more I think about that one, the more the problem of evil pales in comparison. That would be one monster of a god if it existed, worthy of nothing but contempt.
There is truth and reality that are the Universal powers of the unseen. Man attempted to explain this power in the only way he knows how using the visible seen Universe. Then man attempted to control this power by inventing gods that have man at the center of his universe. Man is a sad pathetic creature when he cannot join his inner consciousness. Without it he invents from his imagination. Imagination is a very powerful power that can and does create in both the seen and the unseen and is being misused by man. Man believes his imagination is reality and he is wrong. The reason questions about man invented gods cannot be answered is because it is mythological fantasy. There is no truth or reality to imaginary questions and to attempt to apply logic and reason to man invented fairy tales is simply pathetic and illogical. We can see the results and form of the unseen powers but we cannot see the power that creates it. This will never change because the seen and unseen do not cross over. The unseen is the power of creation but once created it can never be a part of the unseen Universe until the day it it is reborn back into the star dust from whence all creation came from. This is why it is call unknowing and beyond understanding. Once this is realized and accepted as truth the mind will clear away all the mythological fantasy beliefs and the two Universes become clear to study and learn from. So benevolent god? That is like asking is there a benevolent Universal unseen power of creation. The term benevolent is humanistic and man invented. It does not exist in truth and reality. There is NOTHING man imagination invented! It is all fantasy not reality.
Steve, I agree, for those who claim to believe in a benevolent god and do not know of all the violence in the old and new testaments, the fables of heaven and hell and the history of violence throughout time and place can't be readers and thinkers even as they claim they build their beliefs on love and peace. Further compounding their delusions are their claims they hold the ownership on morals and ethics. Claims built on fabrications do not earn them respect or dignity. I like your word, "contempt".
Being taught very well, the modern christian has an instant defense if you point out the slaughter and suffering caused by God. They immediately say "Oh, that was in the Old Testament." Not that it explains anything, but such is the way of modern christian apologitics.
Not having been indoctrinated into any faith, it took me a long time to figure out that Jesus as the "lamb of god" referred not to his supposed meekness/goodness/humility/whatevs, but to his position as the final sacrificial animal necessary to appease their bloodthirsty monster god. Used to be that they had to kill some sheep every year to make god happy. (Or IDK, maybe some random kids, too. Like Isaac?) Then they figured they'd make a big down payment by sacrificing god's son and we'd be good for 2000 years or so. Yup. That's why the New Testament is so much friendlier. 'Cuz in the New Testament, the monster was well-fed on his own son's flesh, and so kinda left the poor humans alone for the most part.
In the Old Testament sometimes "sin" was placed on a goat and that goat was ran off into the wilderness. From this we get the modern term "scapegoat." At a later time lambs were sacrificed. ("I'm burning up some lambs for you. Now will you leave me alone?") Various animals were burned and sacrificed.
Rather than Jesus becoming the "Goat of God" he became the lamb of god. He was ran off into the wilderness of death. Nobody would know what to do if he came back.
Just a little humor there.
Heh. The shepherd/flock analogy is disturbing in this context, too. All Christians are sacrificial animals for their god.
I went and looked up the history of "scapegoat". Turns out it's from the Hebrew ez oezel, or azazel, "goat that departs", and possibly related to the demon Azazel, who might be a fallen angel in his own right or possibly another moniker for Satan, the "sent away one". So, wait... The devil is god's scapegoat? Lemme get this straight. God creates Satan to "create" sin, which he does; therefore God creates sin. Because he's omniscient and he knew it was gonna happen. Then God blames Satan for sin and will ultimately destroy him at the end of the world for doing what God wanted him to do? Sounds legit.
The church attempted to side step away from the old war God when they invented the new god/man Jesus. But it is still just mythological fantasy fairy tale delusion no matter what god or religion you attempt to delude to.
Jesus seems like an improvement on the surface, but Judaism didn't have a concept of hell... Jesus apparently brought that to Christianity, marring it horribly.
Yeah... The Bible makes a lot more sense when you adopt a more "warring tribes" mindset while reading it. By which I mean, the benevolent god and all the rewards associated with heaven apply only to the little tribal in-group. That's why the Bible can say "thou shalt not kill" in one breath, and then turn around and endorse the wholesale massacre of another tribe. Because non-Christians (or non-Jews, I guess if we're going Old Testament...) weren't supposed to be seen as humans. It's really "thou shalt not kill ... a fellow Christian" or "thou shalt not steal ... from a fellow Jew" and so on and so forth.
Their god is only benevolent to their group; anyone else can go burn. When you reject the group's religious teachings, you are no longer considered human, but heathen, and heathens can all suffer for eternity and god will rejoice. But of course, modern Christians with their modern sensibilities usually have a hard time adopting such a savage mindset, so then you get this sort of weirdness. The scriptures of a warlike assimilate-or-die desert tribe don't apply well in a globalized society; they don't apply well when working under the assumption that members of other races and cultures are also people and it's not okay to slaughter and enslave them for not believing in the same things.
As a recovering mythological fantasy delusionist (religious) I can attest to how long, hard and painful it is to recover from a belief in religion or any cult that seeks to make you look outside of yourself to find peace, Truth and Reality or forces you to accept fantasy as reality. We must first find ourselves and our inner consciousness before looking out into physical reality. Nothing fails like prayer and the reason is all the god myths are man made/invented fantasy and mythology. Until the real awaking happens…and I see some beginnings of it…the world will continue to be plagued by mythological believing religious supremest, war mongering, genocidal, criminally deluded organizations. I feel so sorry for the religious deluded that truly believe in the farce fantasy of religions. Understanding mythology is not that hard once you realize that in the old days that was the way they communicated…myth stories. The meaning/message is hidden in the story. True believers in mythology as realities miss the whole point and become mislead by their own good natures. Living in the belittling deception, creates great internal pain and hate for the world around them, as they try to burn everyone in hell in support of their delusions. Very sad.