It never seems to occur to people that, if we are made in the image and likeness of God, then perhaps the pleasure we enjoy from inflicting pain is simply a reflection of God as well. After all, God certainly seemed to enjoy the great flood and the brutal murder of His own Jesus, at least as much as He enjoyed the Crusades and the Inquisitions. And even if God didn't "enjoy" all of that, we certainly seem to. Just look at the 20th century alone.
Toward that end, I have never understood the great flood story of how God drowned everyone on earth for being so evil, since everything that has happened since that time has essentially played out like Cain slaughtering Able, much in the same way the Sanhedrin slaughtered Christ, writ large.
If you consider that all of the starvation in the world, and the wars, the genocides, the diseases, the slavery, and the poverty and brutality (and what is poverty but a highly designed man made system of brutality?), as well as the growing threat of total global nuclear or environmental destruction , are all things that humanity imposes and threatens to impose upon itself, why would there be any need for "God" to destroy us all for being so evil, when it is so clear that we are quite perfectly capable, and indeed joyfully willing, to destroy ourselves?
Perhaps it is because God derives a great deal of pleasure from inflicting pain on mere human beings (just look what His "divine plan" included for Jesus, the apostles, saints, martyrs, etc).
Do you doubt this? Well, when you consider that everything on the planet is forced to eat everything else on the planet to survive (an experience made only all the worse by the fact that we can feel pain and fear), when God clearly could've created complex life that runs on nothing but air and water (to suggest otherwise is like Rockefeller arguing that cars could never run on electric batteries!), it's hard to understand how any of that pain and suffering can teach us anything about a Heaven where no such "pain and suffering" exists at all.
So why do people need to experience pain in this life? Is it because we "must" all unite in the suffering of Christ in paying for "the sins of the world," as if the sacrifice of Christ was so truly inadequate that it requires that humans everywhere offer up their own suffering as well, to say nothing of the suffering of animals inflicted by humanity (which apparently serves no real spiritual purpose at all, as far as God is concerned)? Is our pain and suffering supposed to be a foreshadowing of a damnation to come if we do not "obey" the rules (as conveniently defined by men who promise us they know exactly what God wants, and who only ensure us of why it is NEVER what anyone else says)?
And is there no greater pleasure than that of being cruel to be kind? Why else would Inquisitions so joyously torture people and burn them alive, for their own good? Indeed, God wanting others to share in the suffering of Christ to help redeem the world only clearly demonstrates that even the brutal murder of His own son was not enough to slake God's blood lust and desire for pain.
Just consider how football, boxing, MMA, and many other contact sports, all illustrate just how much people enjoy inflicting pain on others, within some agreed upon parameters of course, and having pain inflicted upon us by others as well, within those same parameters. Perhaps it is simply the fact that the physical pain experienced on the field is a price worth paying for even just a chance at experiencing the pleasure of winning the game, or reaching Heaven.
Such a concept is very much the same one that makes Christians and Muslims everywhere so eager and willing to suffer anything that God, like the serial killer from the movie Saw, included in this worldly torture chamber we call existence.
That Christians all consider life to be "a gift," only illustrates the willingness to wear blinders for their beliefs, especially since the "gift of life" only ever comes with a guaranteed death sentence that we can only hope is quick and painless, even though it so often isn't. Indeed, we even force people to experience the pain and horror of dying for far, far, longer than was ever previously possible, thanks to modern medicine and technology, and a horribly misplaced sense of "morality; and all in the name of defending "the gift of life."
In a very real sense, then, keeping people alive, indeed forcing them to stay alive for fear of helping to usher them to their "final reward," is very much like burning people we believe to be witches at the stake, out of a misplaced sense that we may actually be helping to purify their souls through the pain they experience of being burned alive, so that we may reunite such wayward sinners with their loving Father in heaven.
And all so we can be rewarded by that Father figure for having the moral rectitude of treating such sinners with as much affection as the Sanhedrin showed to Christ, or a serial killer shows his victims.
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