. . . a jealous petty tyrant who demands to be called omniscient and benevolent for the sake of it's ego.
To me, this is some of prima facia evidence that this "god" is, in fact, a human construct. In the King James version, Exodus
, Chapter 20, verses three through five:
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
The old boy comes right out and says he is "a jealous god" [ignoring the implication that there may be another sort of god, and that therefore, he may not be unique--scripture is full of stupid passages such as this]--but worse, promising to blight the lives of several generations of innocents to slake this god's thirst for revenge.
Once, while i sat outside on a college campus, waiting for my friend to come out of class, i was approached by some of the religious predators who really like to work such a venue. I suggested to them that there is something terribly flawed about a doctrine which demands faith, but discounts works. The works (i.e., how you treat others) versus faith dynamic was "solved" relatively early in the history of the primitive church. Part and parcel with that was heresy such as Pelagianism was claimed to be. Pelagius was considered particularly dangerous because he insisted upon free will, and rejected the concepts of original sin and the necessity for "god's" grace to sanctify works. Pelagius held that works could redeem a man or woman's soul just as well as could faith and the receipt of grace.
This heresy (as it was held to be by the Roman church--the Orthodox church simply ignored the boy) was especially pernicious from the ecclesiastic point of view, because it removes the necessity for a hierarchical clergy to act as agents between man and god. The rejection of the concept of original sin was particularly odious to them, because it undermines the inferential claim that all men and women are inherent sinners and need the clergy for their spiritual salvation.
The Roman church mimicked the structure of the Empire at the time that imperial authority was crumbling in the western portion of the Empire. (Contrary to popular "history," the Roman Empire did not "fall" just because Alaric sacked Rome.) So that priests held the place of the magistrates, bishops mimicked the legates, cardinals held the place of consuls and the Pope stood in the place of the Caesars. In the Orthodox church, this hierarchy was also (eventually) created, but Ortodox bishops, metropolitans and patriarchs fulfilled an administrative function, and did not have the doctrinal authority possessed by officers of the Roman church. A metropolitan, for example, could challenge liturgical practice and even theological doctrine, and the reaction would be that the church would convene a synod of metropolitans and patriarchs to review the matter. This is exactly what happened when the Russian Orthodox metropolitan Nikon challenged liturgical practice in the mid 17th century. In the Roman church, the authority of the ecclesiastic hierarchy hardened over time. Ironically, the Protestants of the Reformation accused the Church of Pelagian heresy, even though many of the principles of the Protestant churchs were very similar to those advocated by Pelagius.
Faith must trump works, and man must be an inherent sinner, even in the Protestant churches, because otherwise the authority of the clergy is undermined, and begins to crumble as soon as anyone asserts that he or she can deal directly with god. This despite the claim that their boy Jesus said that the Kingdom of God lies within everyone. In the King James version, Luke
, Chapter 17, versese 20 and 21:
And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation:
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
So, to my mind, the question is whether or not a clergy and liturgical practice are even needed--is anything needed other than a wise man or woman to guide each individual to that which allegedly already lies within them?
But you, my friend, are going to Hell--get used to it. You are condemned and cannot be saved on any account. In the King James version, John
, Chapter Three, verse 18:
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.