And it's really, really stupid. Here's the short version, in handy bulletin form:
- Adam and Eve were created in God's image, but rebelled against God and were cursed with "sin", which they passed on through all their offspring – i.e., all of humanity.
- God made lots of covenants with humanity. Lots. In particular, he made one with Moses, which became Mosaic Law – a complex system of behavioral codes and atonement through ritual animal sacrifices.
- Ritual animal sacrifices were imperfect, so God gave his only son to be the perfect sacrifice of atonement.
- Jesus, being born of a virgin, did not inherent the sinful nature of humanity. He was perfect, and in sacrificing himself on the cross, atoned all humanity for its sin. Animal sacrifice was no longer necessary – just faith in the death and resurrection of Christ.
This convoluted narrative is so full of holes that it makes the Matrix trilogy look impeccable by comparison. Christian theology raises some really obvious questions:
- Adam and Eve didn't exist.... so where did "sin" come from? Is humanity being punished for the crimes of mythical people? And why did God allow "sin" to be passed on from one generation to the next at all, instead of just punishing Adam and Eve?
- Adam and Eve's crime is that they ate from the "tree of knowledge of good and evil". If they had no knowledge of good and evil, how could they have known disobeying God was wrong?
- Why does God need bloodshed to forgive sins?
- Why did God bother with several ineffectual covenants instead of just sending Jesus the first time around?
- Jesus is God. How can God sacrifice himself to himself, particularly when he is paying a price he determined to be necessary to free us from a curse he put on us?
- Why bother with any of the divine pageantry? Why can't God simply forgive sins?
- Since sin is an inborn, inherited trait of all humans, why wouldn't God just keep people from being born (just send them straight to Heaven) so that no one would have any need to be saved, or any chance of going to hell?
- If God is omniscient, he knows who will end up in Hell and who will be in Heaven. Not only does that render our own "free will" illusory, but it raises the question of why God would create anyone whom he knew would ultimately reject him and be sent to Hell.
- If you had loved ones you knew were suffering in Hell, could you really be in Heaven?
- In the words of Deepak Chopra: "There is no creative impulse in the absence of discontent. In heaven, you would be doomed to eternal senility."
- If Adam and Eve could sin, then what would prevent humans in Heaven from sinning and starting the whole process again?