Monday, May 25, 2009

The Problem of Communication

The biggest problem I have with religions is that of communication. All religions that I know of are taught through some holy text that has been handed down over generations. We are born into societies that teach us these texts as fact and as the word of God. That is where my problem begins.

I'm not the first to think this. I was listening to an interview with Ryan Convington of Answers In Genesis Busted yesterday on The Infidel Guy podcast and heard him make a very similar argument like what I'm about to make.

Why is it that a God who created us has done such a poor job at getting his message out? Why is it that such an amazingly intelligent being could be such a poor communicator? If he made us then he knows how our brains work. He knows what makes us believe things. He knows what is required to make us accept something as truth. So why is it that we don't have one world religion that we all can accept as true?

Take Judaism as an example. There is a world full of humans but God decides to pick one group of people to be His people. But even among the Israelites there was doubt. So, God's solution was to tell one man, Moses, his story and give him some stone tablets with simple rules for living on them. But if God was so smart and all knowing then wouldn't he know what to tell Abraham or Moses so that when the word was passed along everyone who heard it was like "Ding! I get it!" But getting people to believe he was the one true God was a struggle. When large groups of people were encountered who worshipped another God was his solution to impart divine wisdom on them? Did he give the Jewish leaders wise words that would convince the others of the truth of Yahweh? No, he had them slaughtered. This God, who knows how we think and in some cases changes our minds (hardens hearts) cannot come up with a good, logical argument for getting people to believe in him. He must resort to violence and threats.

Next we have Christianity. Here is God's perfect chance to make people believe. He's come to Earth in human form and even with some cool parlor tricks he cannot convince everyone around him that God is real and people should believe him. All it took was some wise words that would open their minds to the perfect truth that is God. He did have some good sermons. The parables were powerful stories, but his ultimate solution was to sacrifice himself. Huh? How does that prove you are God? It does do one thing, it plays on our emotions. So perhaps God as Jesus was better at getting people to believe than God as Yahwey?

Some will argue that if you look at the world's population today we have billions who believe in Christ, so how was he a bad communicator? Well, for starters he could have written things down himself. Or had people dictate his stories as they were told. Why wait until a generation after his death to codify his words? We are now at the mercy of humanity's own poor communication skills. And it has taken 2000 years to get us to this point. It wasn't until humans invented better means of getting around the planet and studying other people's languages that so many people started believing in Christ. It was humans passing the word, not God. The problem created by that solution is seen in people like me. Once I learned how the book was written I started having doubts about its validity. I see the human flaws in the Bible. I don't see anything that may have come from God's mouth to my ears.

What would have been more believable to me? Why not have the Ten Commandments delivered to every society on Earth at the same time? At the time of Moses there were cultures all over the world, on every continent. Wouldn't it make us all believers if when we met cultures on other continents that they had the same set of rules as us, but written in their language? Why limit it to just one mountain in the mid-east? Or, as Ryan Covington said in his interview, what if Jesus has visited every continent? What if they all had the same savior story? It would be very hard to doubt something with great power a long time ago was able to spread a message around the world before the Internet.

I'm sure I haven't presented my argument as strongly as I should, so your comments and critiques are certainly welcome. But this is my biggest problem with all religions. If God is so great then why is he so bad at getting his message out?