Magical Cookies

All religions sell magic of one kind or another. Magic is their stock in trade. It’s religion’s response to questions humans can’t yet answer with hard data. Religion (and the religious) despise uncertainty. Wrap it in a mystery though and they love it! Where science will answer “I don’t know”, religion insists it does know (and must know): God. The ultimate magical cookie.

Monotheism v Polytheism

What set monotheism apart from the jump was its main selling point: a personal relationship with the big time creator of everything – and that big time creator’s master plan for both each individual human and for human beings as a whole.

Remember – Christianity arose in a polytheistic world. Polytheistic gods and human beings have way more in common than not. The same “stuff” makes up both.

Aside from the occasional interaction, polytheistic gods and humans have little to do with each other. But, monotheism changed that. Yahweh (that’s God’s name, “god” is actually his job description), approaches Abraham with a generous offer: “believe in me and only me and I will give you a nice piece of real estate by the sea where you can build a great nation”.

“Count me in!” says Abraham. He uproots his people from present day Iraq and transplants them to some beachside property on the Mediterranean. Today’s “Israel”. That displaces the Canaanites and originates “the Jewish People”.

The messaging is so simple: do what God says and he’ll give ya free stuff! You’ll win all your battles (unless God’s angry at you in which case you’ll likely lose because he’s trying to teach), conquer your enemies, live long and prosper.

It’s that last possibility that opens up the game. It’s where Paul’s genius lay.

Blame Paul

The Apostle Paul (a genius!) founded Christianity on a premise of magical thinking. Jesus had zero to do with Christianity or its invention. Jesus was born, lived his whole life and died a Jew preaching Jewish messages to other Jews.

Paul, on the other hand, never met Jesus or heard him teach. His entire experience of Jesus occurred inside his own head on the road to Damascus. When Paul took his version of Jesus to Jerusalem, everyone who knew Jesus disagreed with Paul about Jesus. Because Paul didn’t know know Jesus whereas they did! Unperturbed by reality, Paul took his version of Jesus – and Jewish mythology – out to the Gentiles.

Paul knew that the Gentiles had no background whatsoever in Jewish mythology. Therefore he could tell them literally anything and they’d have no way to check his work. If Paul said prophecy foretold Jesus, who were the Gentiles to question Paul?

Real Jesus was of no value to Paul whereas dead Jesus became Paul’s franchise – the way to defeat death.

To his infinite credit, Paul created Christianity on the fly. He turned basic Jewish messiah mythology into a newfangled religion that promised things no other religion had dared promise before.

Paul’s Deal: Defeat Death Forever

Whereas the Jews invented a personal deity with a stake in every human, Paul invented a deity who could offer every human an incredible deal: believe in Jesus exactly the way Paul said and, just like Jesus, every human could defeat death and live forever – just like Jesus.

All they’d have to do? Believe in magical cookies – and that magical cookies are real.

They’re not real, of course. That’s where the trouble begins. Not only aren’t they real, but those who believe they are real have convinced themselves that everyone not believing in their mythology threatens to destroy that mythology. And cheat them of their magical cookies reward.

This explains why hard core Christians feel so compelled to shove their magical cookie down everyone’s throat. They believe that every non-believer threatens the larger magic. We stand between them and the eternal reward – the magical cookie – they believe is their birthright.

Alas, their eternal reward, like their birthright, like magical thinking itself, is all bullshit. The problem with magical cookies is that consuming them often leads to tragedy that no amount of magic can fix.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: